Full length mirrors may help amputees come to terms with the loss of their limb, say those who have gone through the experience and a research study.
A researcher at Texas Woman’s University has been studying the effect of mirrors on amputees’ well-being and recovery. Amputees say that the first look they get of themselves after they lose a limb can be traumatic, but, if done thoughtfully, can also be therapeutic.
“Right now, [patients] are being wheeled into elevators with mirrors and seeing themselves for the first time in a lobby on the way to the physical therapist,” the researcher told Allure. “Really, all healthcare professionals should be thinking about this.”
However, says the researcher, mirrors can be used to reintroduce amputee and other injured patients to their changed body. If amputees are properly prepared and can view themselves in private, the experience can be helpful.
The researcher looked at how amputees said they felt the first time they saw themselves in a mirror and also how they thought the experience should have happened. Some told her that they first saw their changed bodies in front of entire therapy departments. Many expressed a desire to first see their changed body in private, but, says the researcher, that desire is not often on the radar of health professionals.
“I remember having such a rush of emotions, thinking ‘This is not something you want to do in public,'” one amputee told Allure about her experience of first seeing herself in a mirror after her amputation in front of many other people.
The healing process from an amputation can be long and complex. The researcher says that her goal is to educate healthcare professionals about introducing a mirror into the healing process in an understanding way that will benefit the patient.
“It’s like a dress,” one amputee told Allure. “You don’t really know what it is going to look like until you get to that dressing room.”
Amputations: Catastrophic Personal Injuries
Losing a limb in an accident is a life-changing event. As the researcher interviewed by Allure noted, the healing process is complex and involves both physical and mental components. Amputees require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and often long-term care.
Unfortunately, for some amputees injured by the fault of another, their experience can include a financial and legal component as well.
Amputees are often unable to return to their previous employment or may lose wages while they are unable to work. Medical expenses add up, especially if long-term care is required. Further, an amputation can shorten a person’s life expectancy and affect their ability to enjoy life.
Amputations also affect a person’s family. Family members may need to care for the amputee. Additionally, they may lose the ability to engage in the same activities together.
It is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help protect your legal rights if you are injured in an accident so you can focus on healing.