Reflective accounts

Limb amputation

A CPD article improved Rebecca Keown’s knowledge of caring for people who have undergone limb amputation
Limb amputation

A CPD article improved Rebecca Keowns knowledge of caring for people who have undergone limb amputation

What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article provided an overview of care for patients undergoing a limb amputation. It outlined the four phases of care: pre-operative care, post-operative care, discharge planning and community reintegration, and what is involved during each phase.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The CPD article defined limb amputation as surgical or accidental removal or congenital absence of a limb or part of a limb. It stated that there are various reasons why patients undergo amputation.

A common cause is complications associated with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, foot ulcers, peripheral vascular disease and bone and joint diseases.

Reading

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A CPD article improved Rebecca Keown’s knowledge of caring for people who have undergone limb amputation

What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article provided an overview of care for patients undergoing a limb amputation. It outlined the four phases of care: pre-operative care, post-operative care, discharge planning and community reintegration, and what is involved during each phase.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The CPD article defined limb amputation as surgical or accidental removal or congenital absence of a limb or part of a limb. It stated that there are various reasons why patients undergo amputation.

A common cause is complications associated with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, foot ulcers, peripheral vascular disease and bone and joint diseases.

Reading the article increased my understanding of the management of patients with limb amputation, in particular my knowledge of wound care. I have learned that when carrying out stump dressing, it is essential for the site to be checked for any abnormalities, such as bleeding, swelling and other signs of infection.

The article emphasised the importance of dressing techniques that promote wound healing. For example, after the wound has been cleaned using an aseptic technique and dried thoroughly, the dressing should be secured in a way that is not too tight or too loose, because either can cause complications.

It is also important to measure the limb circumference and monitor the patient’s vital signs at least every 8 hours in the early post-operative phase.

How did you change or improve your practice?

Having read the article, I understand that exercises to strengthen the stump and other limbs should be encouraged. This is so that contractures are prevented, and to promote early mobilisation by the patient. I intend to work actively with physiotherapy colleagues to increase my understanding of these exercises.

My awareness of the correct positioning of the stump has also been increased. I have learned it is important that the stump is well supported, using wheelchair adaptations or by raising the foot rest on the bed. I will continue to promote this advice to patients. 

The article mentioned several non-pharmacological treatments that might be available to the patient, such as hypnotherapy, acupuncture, massage and reflexology, and I plan to discuss these with patients.

In addition, the article increased my awareness of amputation support groups and websites that might be useful for this patient group. I now feel more confident in providing care for patients who are awaiting or have undergone amputation. The article encouraged me to reflect on my experiences in caring for these patients, and I now feel better able to offer advice and support.

How is this relevant to the Code?

One of the themes of The Code is prioritising people. This involves treating patients with dignity and respect and ensuring their needs are met. The article emphasised the importance of recognising the psychological effects of the loss of a limb and responding compassionately. Another theme is effective practice. Reading this article improved my knowledge of caring for patients undergoing limb amputation, and enabled me to provide appropriate care for these patients.

Rebecca Keown is a nurse practitioner at Broadgreen Hospital, Liverpool


This reflective account is based on NS814 Virani A et al (2015) Caring for patients with limb amputation. Nursing Standard. 30, 6, 51-58These questions are the same as those on the NMC templates that UK nurses and midwives must use for revalidation

Write your own reflective account

You can gain a certificate of learning by reading a Nursing Standard CPD article and writing a reflective account. To write a reflective account for Nursing Standard, use the NMC reflective accounts form. Complete the four questions about the CPD article you have just read, writing about 800 words in total. Details of how to submit your reflective account are available here

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