PROMOTING AMPUTEE LIFE SKILLS
The Promoting Amputee Life Skills ® (PALS) Program is an eight week self-management program specifically designed for persons with limb loss. The program is one hundred percent (100%) educational and recognizes that persons with limb loss have very specific needs and realities due to their physical deficits. As such, the PALS Program focuses on how a person who has undergone amputation can improve their health and quality of life following surgery and rehabilitation. More specifically, the program teaches persons with limb loss how to manage their pain, their moods and other problems that they face through a diagnostic model.
The Promoting Amputee Life Skills ® (PALS) Program was created and validated at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. The program’s success comes from a participative approach with persons with limb loss sharing their experiences, both positive and negative with others and learning new problem-solving skills. Each 2-hour session focuses on a specific topic, including:
- Dealing with aches and pains
- Bouncing back
- Interacting with family and friends
- Communicating, networking and accessing community resources
- Keeping motivated and tracking progress
The program’s founder, Dr. Stephen Wegener is a faculty member of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In 2009, he was asked specifically why some persons with limb loss spiral downward, and why others survive the loss and go onwards to rebuild their lives, often achieving success in their profession, a sport or hobby, or their overall enjoyment of life. His response best sums up the power that the Promoting Amputee Life Skills ® (PALS) Program offers to individuals who have undergone limb loss. He noted that:
“It appears that people with limb loss who thrive tend to have family and friends that they can turn to for help, have good problem-solving skills, and are flexible in their life goals and how to achieve them. They also tend to have low levels of negative thinking and feel comfortable out in public with their amputation.”
To date, there are seventeen (17) certified PALS trainers in Canada, who were trained and evaluated by Dr. Wegener and all costs of the training was absorbed by the Amputee Coalition of Canada. The manual for the Promoting Amputee Life Skills ® (PALS) Program is over 140 pages and has been translated in French and is printed at no cost to the participants.