Conditions

Amputation

Get moving again.

An amputation is a traumatic experience, with both physical and emotional impact. We understand this,  and you won’t face it alone. 

With rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed, you’ll be on your way back to a fulfilling life. Intense rehabilitation is tough — it takes hard work and determination, but we can help. 

We offer coordinated and comprehensive care in an optimistic, supportive environment to guide your path to independence.  

Dr. Bruinsma with amputation patient

Why Mary Free Bed? 

Mary Free Bed’s Amputation Rehabilitation Program specializes in helping people who’ve had surgery like yours. Our experts will teach you how to care for yourself and your residual limb, and help you learn new ways to get daily activities done. 

Last year at our Grand Rapids hospital, we served over 100 patients with various amputations with proven results. For example, more patients than the national average returned home or to a home-like setting. Patients also surpassed the national average for functional improvement. 

Explore Our Outcomes

Care for a lifetime

At Mary Free Bed, your return to independence will be supported by bright, caring rehabilitation providers. When you become a patient at Mary Free Bed, you become a member of our family.

After you graduate from our inpatient program, we offer outpatient medical care and therapy, on-site Orthotics & Prosthetics + Bionics, a peer support group and a host of other resources, including our amazing Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports Program. We’re here for you for as long as you need us.

 

Specialty accreditation

Our inpatient program is accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities International (CARF). This rigorous accreditation process is based on specific standards, ensuring the highest-quality rehabilitation for people who’ve experienced an amputation.

Amputation Therapy
/ Your Experience

Your inpatient treatment team will work with you and your family to create a rehabilitation plan that addresses your goals. Therapy is hard work, but it’s rewarding.

We provide an enriching environment designed to help you recover as much as possible. You’ll discover therapy gyms near your private room and leading-edge resources to help you reach your highest level of independence.

Amputation therapy

Therapy:

The duration and intensity of your therapy will depend on your individual needs and tolerance. Research shows the sooner you begin rehabilitation, the better your outcome will be. 

Patients typically do three hours of therapy five days a week, with rest and visits with family and friends on the weekends.  

Motion Analysis Camera

Technology:

Our experts have access to the latest technology and tools. Ceiling-mounted ambulation systems help you practice walking without fear, and our Motion Analysis Laboratory will help us study the way you walk so we can work with you to improve it.

Amputation Clinic

Support:

Your family is part of your team, too! After all, they’ll be helping you be as independent as possible after rehabilitation. That’s why we encourage loved ones to participate in your therapy sessions.

Your physical recovery isn’t our only focus. Care managers and psychologists are available to support both you and your family.

And, because no one understands your situation better than someone who has had an amputation, our Amputee Mentor Program matches you with other amputees who can share their experiences and insights.

The Great Lakes Amputee Network is Mary Free Bed’s support group for those affected by limb loss. The group meets monthly to discuss topics related to quality of life and peer support. They also host fun group outings, such as kayaking and bowling. Patients tell us this mentoring and peer support has a positive impact on their lives well beyond the time they spend here as patients.

/ Meet the Team
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    Board-certified rehabilitation physicians, hand-selected for you and your condition(s).

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    Registered nurses with rehabilitation and wound care certification, as well as nurse technicians.

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    Occupational therapists to help you resume independence with daily activities, such as brushing your teeth, getting dressed, doing laundry and grocery shopping.

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    Physical therapists to evaluate your strength, mobility and level of independence, then provide rehabilitation.

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    Psychologists focus on your emotional well-being, which is just as important as your physical condition. 

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    Registered dietitians to evaluate your nutritional needs and monitor your food intake.

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    Speech-language pathologists to help you, if necessary, with eating, swallowing, speaking, breathing and so on.

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    Recreational therapists to help you get back to doing things you enjoy or introduce you to new leisure activities.

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    A care manager who partners with you and your caregivers to help you adjust to your injury and prepare to return home.

/ Outpatient Experience

Mary Free Bed offers a full spectrum of care, including specialized therapy, home and community services and life-long follow-up care. Our programs and services are available whether you’re a graduate of our inpatient program or you’re new to our community.  

As you age and your body and life circumstances change, your needs as an amputee can evolve. Mary Free Bed’s Amputee Clinic offers medical care and support whether you’ve lost a limb because of illness or injury, or you have a congenital limb difference. We’ll be there.  

Nathan Wolford - Amputee

At the clinic, you’ll see a physician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation, a rehabilitation nurse, a physical therapist, an amputee care liaison and a certified prosthetist. These specialists will work together as a team to provide you with the best care. Open communication and a positive, problem-solving approach help us focus on your goals and progress. 

You’ll need to be referred to the clinic by Mary Free Bed or by another source (for example, your medical provider). The Amputee Clinic is a preferred provider for most area insurance groups. The clinic is held every Wednesday and Friday, and the first, second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. 

If you’re a candidate for a prosthesis, we have on-site Orthotics & Prosthetics + Bionics, including our own prosthetics lab where we customize and repair prosthetic devices.  

Depending on your needs, your therapists and board-certified prosthetists will work with you and your family to help you order a device that fits and functions, focusing on your safety and comfort. 

Questions + Referrals 
616.840.8007
800.668.6001 

/ Services

Our specialty services are designed to enhance and enrich your life. Your treatment team will work with you to coordinate the services and programs that will best serve you.

In addition to our Orthotics & Prosthetics + Bionics department, here are just some of the other services we offer:

/ FAQs

Below are questions we often hear from patients dealing with amputations. Talk with your treatment team about specific questions or concerns. 

How much pain will I feel after my amputation?

The amount of pain varies from patient to patient. Whatever level of pain you have, we want to stay ahead of it. Your doctors and nurses will work closely with you, prescribing and adjusting medications to ensure your pain is well controlled to help keep you comfortable.

Phantom limb sensation – the perception of still being able to feel your limb – is very real. Most amputees experience this phenomenon, but not as many know it can cause injuries. For example, you may attempt to step down on a now-missing limb because it feels like it’s still there. This usually happens when you’re groggy, such as during the night if you get up alone to use the bathroom.

You may also have milder pain in the removed part of the limb, called phantom limb pain. If this pain is a lingering problem for you, your amputee can suggest medication, compression, mirror therapy, massage therapy, or electrical stimulation.

When will I receive a prosthesis?

Most of our patients are ready for a prosthesis prescription six to eight weeks after their amputation. It may be a bit longer if you have other medical conditions. If you’re a candidate for prosthesis, our team will provide a personalized timeline.

When you’re ready, we have board-certified prosthetists on-site at our Orthotics & Prosthetics + Bionics department to create your custom prosthetic device. The fitting process usually takes between two and six weeks, depending on your individual needs. The shape of your limb changes as post-surgical swelling disappears, so it frequently takes more than one attempt before you have the final fit.

Therapy plays a critical role preparing you to use your prosthetic device safely and comfortably and be independent. You’ll work on strength training, range of motion, and on desensitizing your residual limb and developing good soft tissue mobility. Therapy also includes practicing the activities of daily living and learning home exercises.

Will Mary Free Bed provide me and my family with emotional support after amputation?

Absolutely. We believe your emotional recovery is as important as your physical rehabilitation. Losing a limb can feel a lot like losing a family member. It’s a deeply personal experience, and the grieving process and recovery is unique to you.

At times, it may seem like you’re on a roller coaster, with feelings that can change significantly from one day to the next. That emotional range is normal, and we’ve helped thousands of patients to successfully navigate those fluctuations after amputation.

Our whole-person approach includes several emotional and psychological support options. For example, your care manager can work with your family to offer suggestions about what they can do to help you adjust to your amputation. Or your doctor may prescribe appropriate medication or other methods to address areas of concern.

And no one understands what you’re going through better than someone who’s had a similar experience. A member of our Amputee Mentor Program will be happy to meet you, give you practical tips for success and help you restore your peace of mind.

Still have questions? Feel free to contact us.

The next step on your path to recovery.