Amputation Nursing Care Plans

In general, amputation of limbs is the result of trauma, peripheral vascular disease, tumors, and congenital disorders. For the purpose of this plan of care, amputation refers to the surgical/traumatic removal of a limb. Upper extremity amputations are generally due to trauma from industrial accidents. Reattachment surgery may be possible for fingers, hands, and arms. Lower-extremity amputations are performed much more frequently than upper-extremity amputations. Five levels are currently used in lower-extremity amputation: foot and ankle, below knee (BKA), knee disarticulation and above (thigh), knee-hip disarticulation; and hemipelvectomy and translumbar amputation. There are two types of amputations: (1) open (provisional), which requires strict aseptic techniques and later revisions, and (2) closed, or “flap.”

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing care planning for patients who had an amputation includes: support psychological and physiological adjustment, alleviate pain, prevent complications, promote mobility and functional abilities, provide information about surgical procedure/prognosis and treatment needs.

Here are four (4) amputation nursing care plans:

  1. Impaired Physical Mobility
  2. Risk for Infection
  3. Risk for Ineffective Tissue Perfusion
  4. Situational Low Self-Esteem
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Impaired Physical Mobility: Limitation in independent, purposeful physical movement of the body or of one or more extremities.

Related to: 

  • Loss of a limb (particularly a lower extremity); pain/discomfort; perceptual impairment (altered sense of
  • balance)

Possibly evidenced by

  • Reluctance to attempt movement
  • Impaired coordination; decreased muscle strength, control, and mass

Desired Outcomes: 

  • Verbalize understanding of individual situation, treatment regimen, and safety measures.
  • Maintain position of function as evidenced by absence of contractures.
  • Demonstrate techniques/behaviors that enable resumption of activities.
  • Display willingness to participate in activities.
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Encourage him to perform prescribes exercises. To prevent stump trauma.
Provide stump care on a routine basis: inspect area, cleanse and dry thoroughly, and rewrap stump with elastic bandage or air splint, or apply a stump shrinker (heavy stockinette sock), for “delayed” prosthesis. Provides opportunity to evaluate healing and note complications (unless covered by immediate prosthesis). Wrapping stump controls edema and helps form stump into conical shape to facilitate fitting of prosthesis. Note: Air splint may be preferred, because it permits visual inspection of the wound
Measure circumference periodically Measurement is done to estimate shrinkage to ensure proper fit of sock and prosthesis.
Rewrap stump immediately with an elastic bandage, elevate if “immediate or early” cast is accidentally dislodged. Prepare for reapplication of cast. Edema will occur rapidly, and rehabilitation can be delayed
Assist with specified ROM exercises for both the affected and unaffected limbs beginning early in postoperative stage. Prevents contracture deformities, which can develop rapidly and could delay prosthesis usage.
Encourage active and isometric exercises for upper torso and unaffected limbs. Increases muscle strength to facilitate transfers and ambulation and promote mobility and more
normal lifestyle.
Maintain knee extension. To prevent hamstring muscle contractures.
Provide trochanter rolls as indicated. Prevents external rotation of lower-limb stump
Instruct patient to lie in prone position as tolerated at least twice a day with pillow under abdomen and lower-extremity stump. Strengthens extensor muscles and prevents flexion contracture of the hip, which can begin to develop within 24 hr of sustained malpositioning.
Caution against keeping pillow under lower-extremity stump or allowing BKA limb to hang dependently over side of bed or chair. Use of pillows can cause permanent flexion contracture of hip; a dependent position of stump impairs venous return and may increase edema formation.
Demonstrate and assist with transfer techniques and use of mobility aids like trapeze, crutches, or walker. Facilitates self-care and patient’s independence. Proper transfer techniques prevent shearing abrasions and dermal injury related to “scooting.”
Assist with ambulation. Reduces potential for injury. Ambulation after lower-limb amputation depends on timing of prosthesis placement.
Instruct patient in stump-conditioning exercises Hardens the stump by toughening the skin and altering feedback of resected nerves to facilitate use of prosthesis.
Refer to rehabilitation team Provides for creation of exercise and activity program to meet individual needs and strengths, and identifies mobility functional aids to promote independence. Early use of a temporary prosthesis promotes activity and enhances general well-being and positive outlook. Note: Vocational counseling and retraining also may be indicated.
Provide foam or flotation mattress. Reduces pressure on skin and tissues that can impair circulation, potentiating risk of tissue ischemia and breakdown.
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See Also


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Musculoskeletal Care Plans


Care plans related to the musculoskeletal system:

Further Reading


Recommended books and resources:

  1. Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes
  2. Nurse's Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Prioritized Interventions and Rationales
  3. Nursing Diagnoses 2015-17: Definitions and Classification
  4. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V-TR)
  5. Manual of Psychiatric Nursing Care Planning
  6. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans
  7. Delmar's Maternal-Infant Nursing Care Plans, 2nd Edition
  8. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans