The activities of MPUA are focussed on the prosthetic users of the Specialised Ability Centre Manchester (SACM), which provides prosthetic services, through a joint operation between the NHS (University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust) and a specialist prosthesis supplier (Opcare), for the whole of the Greater Manchester area.
SACM provides services to around 3,500 existing prosthetic users, plus annually, an additional 300 prospective prosthetic users following their recent amputations.
MPUA supports and encourages all prosthetic users to live as “normal a life” as possible, which includes resuming participation in sports or exercise classes, partaking in social events, undertaking voluntary work and even returning to paid employment.
MPUA will help them through all these stages and provide advice and guidance on available benefits, grants and access to other appropriate support networks or simply give the opportunity to have “a coffee and a chat” with one of our volunteers, who is another, usually a longer established, prosthetic user, who will be knowledgeable, on many aspects of life for a prosthetic user, gained by them becoming familiar with topics on the MPUA “Knowledge Base” and often able to offer tips, on how they personally overcame typical challenges.
A key element of MPUA’s offering is easy access to up-to-date information (e.g. government & local authority welfare benefits, access to disability sport, etc) relevant to all prosthetic users. Our aim has been to build a “Knowledge Base”, which is accessible via the internet and in traditional printed format, available on request, for those prosthetic users without access to the internet, either at a meeting with a volunteer or simply posted out. A key task for us is to routinely update this “Knowledge Base” to ensure it is always up-to-date and then to disseminate any new information to our team of volunteers, through email updates and regular volunteer briefings
Our quest is through working with voluntary and statutory organisations, we will be able to assist prosthetic users to find services and activities, which support them and help them, once again, to mix with other people of all abilities, having dealt with their own major life changing challenges and continue to maintain their own health and well-being.
We represent a major interface between SACM and its prosthetic users. We are optimistic that through our activities, MPUA will rapidly earn the respect and trust of the prosthetic users attending SACM, so MPUA can realistically be viewed as “speaking with a representative voice of all SACM’s prosthetic users”.
Members of the existing MPUA set-up and launch project team already have a strong relationship with key NHS and Opcare managers of the Centre and it is anticipated this will continue for the foreseeable future, after MPUA is fully operational. We cannot under-value the importance of this working relationship as it represents a key two-way communication process, which will yield further improvements to the “patient experience” for those attending the Centre.
Who Will Benefit & How Will They Benefit
People who have amputations fall in two categories, firstly there are those who require an amputation or amputations following their involvement in an unexpected traumatic event (e.g. a major road accident) and secondly, there are those who have a medical condition (e.g. serious infection or cancer in a limb), where an amputation is the only remedy. For most people in both categories, the amputation represents a significant life changing event, which many find very difficult to deal with effectively. After their amputations, they then face the opportunity to have a prosthesis, which to some is another life changing event. Our focus is not only on these prospective users, but also the existing prosthetic users, for whom a number would have gone through life as a prosthetic user with incomplete advice, guidance and support, particularly about their knowledge of the full range of benefits available to them and how to get participating in sporting activities again.
MPUA meets amputees’ pre- and post-operation needs and offers life coaching for them to deal with the major life changes that they are facing.
MPUA focuses on providing support, advice and assistance for all prosthetic users, so they gradually change to a more positive outlook on life and develop a “can do, can win” attitude. Eventually many of these amputees would, hopefully, resume living as “normal a life” as possible, so they can mix with people of differing abilities and resume paid work, even if that involves a career change for them.
Every prosthetic user is different, so there needs to be a specific personalised approach for each amputee.
MPUA wants to change the way wearing prosthesis is perceived. MPUA will encourage amputees to be proud of their prosthesis and not be afraid to wear it in public nor feel the need to hide it.
Carers and Families
MPUA recognises that prosthetic users do not face the life changing effects of their amputations on their own, but they have major impacts on their families and in particular on the member of their family, who becomes their designated carer. MPUA encourages the carers and families of prosthetic users to participate in all its activities, whether it be advice/guidance sessions or the quarterly MPUA open meetings.
Just like there are benefits, as mentioned above, in prosthetic users meeting other prosthetic users, this equally applies to the carers and families of amputees meeting the carers or families of other amputees.