DAV Charitable Service Trust Grant to help Amputees

Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
Monday, 7 January 2002

A study funded by the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust is making vast progress in ensuring that amputees are fitted with the right kind of prosthetic device to improve their mobility. The study conducted by researchers at the University of Miami Division of Physical Therapy is not yet complete, but it has determined data that can predict the kind of prosthetic best suited for an amputee.

"The advances in this five-year study have been made with the generous support of the DAV Charitable Service Trust in honor of the courage, dedication, and sacrifice of our nation's veterans," said Trust Chairman Richard E. Marbes. "DAV members played a key role in the development of this study which will help all Americans."

Dr. Robert S. Gailey of the University of Miami School of Medicine heads up the team of researchers who developed the Amputee Mobility Predictor (AMP) to objectively assess sitting and standing balance, quality of ambulation, and the ability to perform limited walking skills.

"The AMP was developed with the overwhelming support of DAV members who participated in mobility studies conducted during the 2000 National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Crested Butte, Colo., and the 2001 DAV National Convention held in Miami Beach, Fla.," Dr. Gailey said. "The studies were designed to assess the functional capabilities of amputees."

Their capabilities were used to develop a simple test to classify amputees into five ambulatory classes. The classes, or Medicare Functional Classification Levels, are used by Medicare and insurance companies to determine the proper prosthetic device for amputees.

"At present, once an amputee is classified at one of the levels, it is difficult if not impossible to move to a higher level of prosthetic device because of the lack of supporting data," Dr. Gailey said. "You say you would benefit, your prosthetist supports your view, but your insurance company or their medical people say you won't benefit, and you're basically stuck."

"The AMP gives prosthetists or physical therapists a simple six-minute test and a final score that indicates if you would benefit from more sophisticated prosthetics, and you might have a stronger case," he said. "In addition, your rehabilitation progress can be objectively monitored allowing demonstrated progress over time."

"We are very pleased the DAV Charitable Service Trust is able to support this program which is of such great benefit to disabled veterans and their families," Mr. Marbes said. "The DAV has a proud history of veterans helping veterans. That legacy is fulfilled each year by the generosity of those who contribute to the DAV Charitable Service Trust through private donations or contributions made through workplace campaigns like the Combined Federal Campaign and the United Way."

The Disabled American Veterans is a non-profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932. It is dedicated to one, single purpose: building better lives for our nation's 2.3 million disabled veterans and their families.

For more information, or to contact Disabled American Veterans (DAV), see their website at: www.dav.org

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