Whether from combat or disease, losing a limb is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. It’s traumatic. It’s permanent.
Veterans who have lost limbs will also have unique, complex and ever-changing health care needs due to the amputation. One of those initial needs is hours, upon hours of physical therapy.
“A big part of the team’s job is to help Veterans regain and keep a sense of self and independence as they heal from the physical and emotional trauma that comes from such a profound loss,” says amputee rehabilitation coordinator and physical therapist Lindsay Crowell with the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center.
VA physical therapists are health care professionals who offer treatment to improve their mobility and help relieve pain. Evidence-based physical therapy often reduces the need for surgery and prescription drugs, and allows patients to participate in a recovery plan designed for their specific needs.
National Physical Therapy Month is celebrated each October. Outpatient physical therapy services are offered at all 153 VA medical centers across the country. Since October 2014, VA physical therapists and physical therapy assistants have cared for more than 700,000 Veterans over the course of 3 million unique visits. There are currently more than 2,013 physical therapists, and 467 physical therapy assistants working in VA’s health care system.