We share our client, P's experience of residential amputee rehabilitation and his journey to recovery following a below-knee amputation.

P sustained a severe leg fracture/crush injury in January 2013 when a large sheet of heavy metal fell on him whilst at work. After enduring (over several years) various operations, and in severe continuous pain, he elected to have a below knee amputation in January 2017.

Whilst the amputation itself was a success, P's initial amputee rehabilitation did not go well. He struggled to adapt to his prosthetic leg and very quickly became reliant on extremely high doses of opiates. Despite this medication he was only able to wear his prosthetic leg for 2/3 hours a day and relied heavily on his wheelchair. As someone with a historically complex relationship with alcohol, he also returned to heavy drinking as a means of dealing with his situation. Psychologically and physically he was struggling, and he needed a holistic approach to get the best results.

P appointed a new solicitor, Chris Smith at Stewarts, to deal with his compensation claim. Chris recognised that P was someone who, without proper support, was only able to address one issue at a time; whether that was pain, diet, psychological issues or prosthetic limb. He needed a multi-disciplinary approach to his rehabilitation for his recovery. Already familiar with the work being undertaken at STEPS Rehabilitation, Chris referred him for an assessment. One of STEPS Consultants in Rehabilitation Medicine met with P in May 2018 to undertake a pre-admission assessment to understand his needs. Despite the fact that P's accident had occurred 5 years previously, his rehabilitation needs were multiple and complex.

P was admitted to STEPS as a residential client for a period of intensive rehabilitation. STEPS is the only facility in the UK to provide this kind of residential amputee rehabilitation. When he was admitted into STEPS he was in very poor health. He was unable to keep food down, dependent on opiods, drinking heavily and had very poor mobility. A multi-disciplinary team was quickly put into place to deliver a range of treatment and therapies all under one roof. STEPS Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine caring for P said "He was a complex case. The combination of his injuries, psychological and social problems meant that an in-patient stay was imperative to modify his behaviour and get him on the road to recovery. This is what STEPS was able to offer him so brilliantly."

His treatment included: amputee assessment and programme; physiotherapy; occupational therapy; psychology; gym programme with a technical instructor; pain management; medication review (pain killers and anti-depressants), as well as a focus on good nutrition in conjunction with the catering team at STEPS.

The pain management programme meant that within 3 months P had halved the strength of his opioid medication. His medication was altered and new analgesics added to manage his pain. Combined with this, his prosthetic care was transferred to Blatchford who helped P to recover from a very sore stump and put in place intensive physiotherapy that enabled him to wear his prosthetic limb for 8 hours a day. Chris Smith, P’s solicitor said "Once at STEPS I could very quickly see an improvement with P's condition. With his pain under control he was able to make progress with his prosthetic leg and even use STEPS' hydrotherapy pool to aid his rehabilitation. As part of my job representing P in his personal injury claim, it was necessary for me to liaise closely with the team who were supporting him to understand his progress. Whether it was his treating consultant, those delivering his various therapies or Anna Watkiss (P's Case Manager) communication was seamless and geared towards doing the very best for P."

P was a residential client at STEPS for a month and thereafter he attended regularly as a day client until December 2018. During this time, P was looked after by around 12 specialists.

P says, "Everyone at Steps, the whole team, including people who came in from the outside were AMAZING! Going to STEPS was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Everybody is so friendly and easy-going and there is no pressure which was important for me. I got married in January 2019 and I took my three legs on our honeymoon to Mexico! I'm planning on returning to STEPS for some more therapy very soon."