In October 2019, Luka was tasked with cleaning a piece of machinery at the factory where he was working in East Yorkshire, when his leg was dragged into the equipment and he suffered a traumatic below knee amputation.

Luka was taken to Hull Royal Infirmary where he underwent a number of surgeries and received treatment for a recurrent infection.

At the time of his accident, Luka was an active 29-year old, with a young family, who loved to play sport. His was living with his sister in a property in Hull, whilst his fiancée and young daughter were living back at home in Croatia.

Below knee amputation following an injury at work

After a visit from an NHS occupational therapist, a number of problems were identified with the property in Hull. These included a large step at the front of the property and a bathroom that was not accessible for anyone in a wheelchair or wheeled commode. The Claimant’s Solicitor and Defendant Insurer agreed that the home was not suitable for him to return and that he would benefit from a period of residential rehabilitation in a specialist unit. His injury also needed to be closely monitored, having suffered recurrent infections, so a residential facility needed to be found to assist with his rehabilitation and ongoing care to help Luka return to as independent a life as possible.

His solicitors, Dan Herman and Lauren Atkinson from Stewarts, and his employer’s insurer agreed to jointly instruct a Case Manager, Annette Broadhead from Positive OT & Case Management Ltd. Annette carried out an Immediate Needs Assessment under the Rehabilitation Code and it was agreed that Luka would proceed straight to STEPS Rehabilitation for a programme of intensive rehabilitation.

Amputee rehabilitation at STEPS Rehabilitation

Luka came to STEPS Rehabilitation for a three-week period in early December 2019, following his discharge from hospital. He moved straight into the transitional living unit, which offers clients the opportunity to develop their independence in a self-contained living area that includes a fully accessible kitchen with height adjustable work surfaces. After Christmas, and following intensive rehabilitation, Luka was able to move to a rented ground floor apartment in Hull with his fiancée and young daughter who had arrived from Croatia. Luka returned to STEPS for 2/3 day stays at a time. He now visits the facility weekly as a day patient.

As the only clinic in the UK which offers a residential amputee rehabilitation service in partnership with Blatchford, STEPS was the ideal choice for Luka.

Luka’s initial prosthetic was provided by the NHS in January 2020 and, in February, Blatchford fitted him with a more advanced and tailored prosthetic that he received in March 2020.

Clients like Luka benefit from the swift provision of their prosthetic or orthotic device, whilst also receiving a blend of daily therapy sessions from the specialist team to maximise mobility, independence and general well-being.

Choosing STEPS Rehabilitation

At STEPS, Luka is receiving support and therapies for his physical and traumatic injuries, he has a range of therapies daily that include:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Prosthetic Specialist Rehabilitation
  • Therapy Assistant Sessions

Luka also has the following interventions:

  • Exercise Therapy
  • Pain Management
  • Massage
  • Gait re-education
  • Aquatic Therapy
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • Group Work (Balance Class)
  • Sensory Desensitisation
  • Peer Support

For anyone who has had an amputation, there is always a great psychological impact. STEPS offers a range of psychological therapies to support clients and help manage their mood.

Community at STEPS

Luka’s journey to recovery has not just been about the therapies at STEPS Rehabilitation, but the other clients at the facility too. By spending time and living alongside other people who have also suffered life-changing injuries, Luka has been able to work through and address his issues with the support and encouragement of the clients.

Other clients at STEPS who have also suffered life changing injuries means Luka has been able to address and work through these issues, alongside the more traditional approach to amputee rehabilitation.

STEPS is a community environment, and the importance of family is a key value. It has been a vital part of Luka’s recovery that his fiancée and young daughter are able to visit him at STEPS, in a non-clinical environment. STEPS support not only their clients, but also their families, offering advice and providing reassurance about any concerns.

What next for Luka

Following the initial intensive rehabilitation at STEPS, Luka has moved into his own home with his partner and daughter. Through his rehabilitation at STEPS, he is able to wear his prosthesis most days and uses it to mobilise around his community regularly. He recently returned home to Croatia for a holiday and used his prosthesis for the entire duration, including some more adventurous mobility in nature. Prior to his accident, Luka played semi-professional football and is now looking at returning to the game. Luka is also looking forward to returning to his pre-accident fishing hobby. He is also able to drive again and is in the process of arranging to trial a specially adapted vehicle to enable him to do so and then lease.