Ageing, limb-loss, and military veterans: A systematic review of the literature

January, 2018

This article reviews current literature and knowledge regarding the impact of ageing and limb-loss on military veterans.


The impact of losing a limb in military service extends well beyond initial recovery and rehabilitation, with long-term consequences and challenges requiring healthcare commitments across the life-course. This paper presents a systematic review of the current state of knowledge regarding the long-term impact of ageing and limb-loss in military veterans. Key databases were systematically searched including: ASSIA, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Medline, Web of Science, PsycArticles/PsychInfo, ProQuest Psychology and ProQuest Sociology Journals, and SPORTSDiscus. Empirical studies which focused on the long-term impact of limb-loss and/or healthcare requirements in veterans were included. The search process revealed 30 papers relevant for inclusion. These papers focused broadly on four themes: 1) long-term health outcomes, prosthetics use, and quality of life; 2) long-term psycho-social adaptation and coping with limb-loss; 3) disability and identity, and; 4) estimating the long-term costs of care and prosthetic provision. Findings present a compelling case for ensuring the long-term care needs and costs of rehabilitation for older limbless veterans are met. A dearth of information on the lived experience of limb-loss, and the needs of veterans’ families calls for further research to address these important issues.

Full Reference

Caddick, N., Cullen, H., Clarke, A., Fossey, M., Hill, M., McGill, G., Greaves, J., Taylor, T., Meads, C. and Kiernan, M. D., 2018. Ageing, limb-loss, and military veterans: A systematic review of the literature. Ageing and Society, pp. 1-29. doi:10.1017/S0144686X18000119.

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