The number of children across Australia with limb loss or limb difference continues to grow, with around 100 children born with limb deficiency each year. In addition, Australia has the second highest rate of diabetic amputations in the developed world.
Caring for a child with limb loss or limb difference can be challenging. It is something that no child, their family or primary caregivers should have to go through alone. Limbs 4 Life aims to prevent this isolation by empowering amputees and their families with information and support.
Prior to this program there was an identified lack of child specific information, resources and support mechanisms available in Victoria.
Based on the successful Limbs 4 Life program for adults, the Limbs 4 Kids program was developed to address the gap in much needed support and information to Victorian families who have a child that is born with, or develops a limb difference.
The support service aims to promote positive mental health, effective participation and inclusion in society, and general wellbeing outcomes for parents and carers, as well as the young person living with a limb difference.
The project features an inclusive program of activities, education sessions, parent networking sessions and family events, with resources also developed for health services in the region.
Through the program, families new to limb loss are matched with trained volunteers who are willing to share their knowledge and experience. This allows them to ask questions and discuss issues that only someone who has been through a similar experience can answer.
Our ongoing funding support will now see the program extended across Australia from May 2015. 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.
In addition, 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.
During 2012 nib foundation supported a pilot year, in which extensive consultation was held with families, health professionals and volunteers to identify the challenges facing carers and the best ways to address their needs.
2013 was the first full year of the Limbs 4 Kids program, which saw the delivery of parent networking sessions and family events, development and distribution of information sheets and the commencement of a structured Peer Support Program.
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.
"The benefit of having information 'on-hand' to pass onto anxious parent's helps to alleviate the distress families experience. I also feel that I can provide a service of 'greater value' to my clients, if I have access to information specific to their needs" Social Worker - Royal Adelaide Women's' and Children's Hospital
"Thank you for asking me to provide peer support to another parent who is where I was 10 years ago and I had a baby missing her arm. It is wonderful that you can connect us as nothing like that existed when my daughter was born". Parent
More Info: Check out the great program events and resources at www.limbs4kids.org.au or watch the video below and hear first-hand how this program is helping families.