Support for youth with limb deficiency to be rolled out nationwide

Children and their families will no longer be a forgotten age group of amputees with the national expansion of a unique program that alleviates the challenges associated with limb loss.

Ongoing funding from nib foundation will see the one-of-a kind Carers, Children and Youth program run by Victorian organisation, Limbs 4 Life, become available to all Australian children or young adults who undergo limb amputation or are born with limb difference, along with their families and carers.

Limbs 4 Life Executive Officer, Melissa Noonan said the age-specific, targeted program provides access to valuable support services and information to empower children and their families to deal with their limb difference.

“Each year approximately 100 Australian children are born with limb deficiency while a further 100 children face amputations due to cancer, infection and trauma-related causes,” Ms Noonan said.

“Our program provides invaluable support to these amputees and we are thrilled that nib foundation has announced a further two years of funding to extend this much-needed service across the country,” she added.

nib foundation Chairman, Keith Lynch, said the positive outcomes the program delivered over the first two years prompted the foundation to continue its support.

“Research conducted by Monash University has shown that this program is an effective model for promoting the health, wellbeing and social inclusion of children living with limb loss,” Mr Lynch said.

“Our ongoing funding support will now see the program extended across Australia. It will help prevent social isolation, build resilience and develop confidence in these young people and their families by connecting them with a supportive organisation and communities of people in similar situations,” he added.

The program will also be conducted online through the development of a dedicated website, online forum, webinars and podcasts to facilitate greater interaction between families.

“Feedback from our families has shown that there is a greater need for online delivery of the program to allow parents and carers to access information at a time that suits their needs and to allow them to connect with others in a private forum,” Ms Noonan said.

“The new online component of the program will allow us to do just that, as well as enabling us to distribute information and resources to a wider audience,” she added.

The program expansion comes as Limbs 4 Life celebrates its 10-year anniversary of providing support to new amputees and their families.

“Australia has the second highest rate of diabetic amputations in the developed world making organisations like ourselves an important resource for amputees and their families to be able to access information and support,” Ms Noonan said.

“This week we’re marking a major milestone being 10 years of providing support to individuals pre or post amputation surgery so this funding couldn’t have come at a better time.”

For more information about Limbs 4 Life and the Carers, Children and Youth program please visit www.limbs4life.org.au