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Mid-Ohio Valley gets certified peer visitors from amputee coalition

BELPRE — Amputees can now receive additional assistance in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

The Prosthetic Users Group, of Belpre, announces that the Mid-Ohio Valley, and surrounding area, now has six nationally certified peer visitors from the National Amputee Association.

Tamara Chinea of Parkersburg, Barry Friedman of Dunbar, Bill Fulton of Belpre, Steve Lamp of Parkersburg, Robert Stephens of Charleston and Fred Yanda of New Matamoras volunteered to receive training for this program.

The program involved eight plus hours of training on March 23, said Nancy Miller with Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics LLC of Belpre. Juanita Mengel, a certified instructor from the National Amputee Coalition, traveled from Amanda, Ohio, to teach the class.

Students can be an amputee who has successfully adapted to life without a limb for at least a year or a caregiver of an amputee. The application process requires references, a background check and a small fee.

Both the students and instructor volunteer their time with their main goal of giving back to help new amputees, Miller said.

“Peer visitors are invaluable to the new amputee. When someone loses a limb, they often struggle with how they can function and lead a normal life again,” Miller said. “Peer visitors, sent on behalf of the National Amputee Coalition, call on new amputees to help bring them hope.”

Peer support is vital to recovery, Miller said. Most amputees who have experienced the gift of a peer visit report this visit changed their life.

A visit can help them from being overwhelmed and depressed. They realize if he/she can do it, I can do it, Miller said.

“Often the recovery process is a blur, but looking back, the amputee can distinctly remember the effect the peer visit had on their lives,” Miller said.

The Peer Visitor program was brought to the area by the Prosthetic Users Group of the Mid-Ohio Valley and hosted by Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics at its Belpre location. The Prosthetics Users Group was formed in October 2015 to help amputees meet and help each other adapt to life.

The support group has been discussing the certified peer visitor program for years.

If you work for a hospital or rehabilitation facility or have a family member or friend who is facing or has recently experienced an amputation, and are interested in a peer visit locally, call Nancy Miller at 740-421-4211. Another option is to go through the National Amputee Coalition website at Amputee-coalition.org. This program is offered across the country.

Amputees are invited to join the group’s monthly meetings. The Prosthetic Users Group meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m., usually at Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics, 2354 Richmiller Lane in Belpre. Meeting locations and agenda can be confirmed at PUGMOV.com.

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