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Ageing, limb-loss and military veterans: a systematic review of the literature

  • NICK CADDICK (a1), HELEN CULLEN (a2), AMANDA CLARKE (a3), MATT FOSSEY (a1), MICHAEL HILL (a3), GILL MCGILL (a3), JANE GREAVES (a3), TERI TAYLOR (a4), CATHERINE MEADS (a5) and MATTHEW D KIERNAN (a3)...

Abstract

The impact of losing a limb in military service extends well beyond initial recovery and rehabilitation, with long-term consequences and challenges requiring health-care commitments across the lifecourse. This paper presents a systematic review of the current state of knowledge regarding the long-term impact of ageing and limb-loss in military veterans. Key databases were systematically searched including: ASSIA, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Medline, Web of Science, PsycArticles/PsychInfo, ProQuest Psychology and ProQuest Sociology Journals, and SPORTSDiscus. Empirical studies which focused on the long-term impact of limb-loss and/or health-care requirements in veterans were included. The search process revealed 30 papers relevant for inclusion. These papers focused broadly on four themes: (a) long-term health outcomes, prosthetics use and quality of life; (b) long-term psycho-social adaptation and coping with limb-loss; (c) disability and identity; and (d) estimating the long-term costs of care and prosthetic provision. Findings present a compelling case for ensuring the long-term care needs and costs of rehabilitation for older limbless veterans are met. A dearth of information on the lived experience of limb-loss and the needs of veterans’ families calls for further research to address these important issues.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Nick Caddick, Veterans and Families Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford Campus, Bishop Hall Lane, Chelmsford CM1 1SQ, UK E-mail: nick.caddick@anglia.ac.uk

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