Amputee Program Medical Director
Benjamin Bruinsma, MD, is the Mary Free Bed Amputee Program Medical Director and a board-certified physiatrist (a physician who has additional training in physical medicine and rehabilitation). A member of the Mary Free Bed medical staff since 1989, Dr. Bruinsma also specializes in strokes and orthopedic conditions. He is a fellow of both the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine.
Your nursing team includes registered nurses, many who have additional rehabilitation and wound-care certification, and nurse technicians. Our nurses specialize in rehabilitation nursing; whether it’s mid-day or the middle of the night, your can count on them to:
• Provide competent, compassionate medical and personal care
• Educate you and your family regarding the impact your limb loss will have on your health
• Empower you to become as independent as possible by teaching you and your family health management techniques
Your occupational therapists focus on helping you improve activities of daily living and relearn to manage independently at home. They will:
• Evaluate and help you with strength, coordination and muscle tone
• Increase your level of independence by showing you new ways to do daily activities such as getting dressed and bathing
• Identify, fabricate and train you to use adaptive equipment, if necessary
• Work closely with other members of your amputee team to identify the best prosthesis if you are a candidate for one
Your physical therapists evaluate your mobility and level of independence and then provide training to:
• Strengthen muscles
• Build endurance
• Improve balance
• Safely use a wheelchair if necessary and transfer into and out of a car or shower, or onto a couch
• Safely and effectively use a prosthesis if you’re a candidate for one
If you have balance challenges, your physical therapists teach you how to fall safely to reduce potential injures. In addition, our ceiling-mounted ambulation system allows you and your therapist to focus on your recovery instead of worrying about falls.
Your emotional well-being after an amputation is as much a concern as your physical healing. Your rehabilitation psychologist is available to:
• Help you and your family with adjustment issues related to your limb loss
• Work closely with your physician to determine if your medication needs to be adjusted
A board-certified prosthetist from Mary Free Bed Orthotics & Prosthetics (O&P) will:
• Evaluate your prosthetic needs
• Fabricate a custom prosthesis in our state-of-the-art, on-site lab
• Examine how your prosthetic device fits and functions, focusing on your safety and comfort
You’ll likely experience a lifelong relationship with O&P as you visit for adjustments or a replacement prosthesis as you grow, age or experience changes in your physical condition or lifestyle.
A registered dietitian will:
• Evaluate your nutritional needs
• Explain the importance of healthy eating during your recovery
• Provide education about your specific needs
Members of the Nutrition Service staff also can help you select menu items for your diet.
Each of the rehabilitation doctors at Mary Free Bed is board-certified in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation. This medical specialty is called physiatry. While all have extensive residency or fellowship training treating patients with a wide variety of rehabilitation needs, each has special interest areas. Your physician is selected based on his or her level of expertise with your injuries or illness and with other medical conditions you may have.
Your social worker has years of experience counseling people with amputations and their loved ones. Your social worker also may help you and your family:
• Learn about and adjust to your limb loss
• Make preparations for your return home
• Act as a liaison between your family, your treatment team and your insurance company representatives
• Provide information and referrals for community and financial resources (accessible housing, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability)
• Obtain follow-up therapy or nursing care services
Therapeutic Recreational Specialists
Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialists build on your progress in therapy to help you get back into your community. Your recreation specialists:
• Identify what activities you enjoyed before your limb loss and create a plan to help you do those activities again
• Modify existing leisure or recreational equipment, or try a completely new piece of adapted equipment, if necessary
• Takes you on outings to practice the skills you’ve been learning in therapy
The Mary Free Bed YMCA, which will open in the fall of 2015, is a national model for inclusion. It will be available for our patients so they can learn more about the many Mary Free Bed sports opportunities, use the pool and exercise equipment and meet others who have returned to fully enjoying their lives.