What is a Peer Visit?
A Peer Visit(PV) is when a person is faced with limb loss and meets someone who has had a similar experience. This visit can happen either before or just after a person has their amputation. A PV can happen at the Hospital with in a few days, an inpatient facility, in home, over the phone or via video conference. If someone has been told with advance notice that they will have to undergo an amputation, its also highly recommended to meet with someone before surgery as well. There are many reasons why it is highly recommended to ask for a PV.
An Amputation can be one of the most traumatic experiences that a human can go through. There are many reasons that a person can lose a limb, some are even born that way. The most common reason for amputation is diabetes. Due to this a majority of new amputees are older and may have additional health problems. Other reasons can include but are not limited to: cancer, nerve damage, traumatic accident, infection…… Ideally a Peer Visitor who can relate to the persons situation as best as possibly will be asked to meet up. The new Amputee generally has A LOT of questions, some are researched on their own, there are medical professionals who fill in some of the blanks, and friends and family seem to always have an opinion as well. Unfortunately for all their good intentions, none of those options can provide a truly accurate account, and first hand knowledge of what the new Amputee is thinking. They even have answers to some questions the new Amputee hasn’t even thought of yet – those can sometimes be the most important pieces to the puzzle!
Certification: The Amputee Coalition of America has developed a very comprehensive Peer Training Program that was adopted by the Amputee Coalition of Canada as our National Certification. The Program covers every aspect of what a Peer Visitor will encounter during a visit. The information that is passed on can be critical for a new amputee, so it is very important that anything that is shared is accurate. The Peer Visitor has a responsibility to know what topics are considered off limits during a visit. A new Amputee can be in a very vulnerable state and it can be easy for someone to take advantage of that. Examples of this can be for a political agenda, religion, or inappropriate personal advances. For these reasons and others, a person must be trained as well all visits are tracked and followed up on to ensure that everything went smooth.
Its important to note that a majority of Peer Visits are VERY positive. There is rarely an issue, and a lot of Amputees say that their Peer Visits were the most impactful part of their recovery. That is one of the main reasons Certification is so important – is that a PV is so very impactful to the new Amputee.
Every Amputation is Different. Every person handles it differently, and it is important to realize that there is no Right or Wrong way to do it. There is a grieving process just as if you had lost a loved one, and it takes time. Please if you or a loved one is face with limb loss and living in Niagara, reach out to us and we can arrange a Peer Visit!