Caring and Coping: the family perspective on living with limb loss

June, 2018

This report explores the impact of living with limb loss on veterans and their families. The report introduces the Living with Limb Loss Support Model (LLSM), which charts the five stages of the limb loss life course. The report also examines the key concept of coping in relation to the coping levels of individuals with limb loss and their carers, detailing the relationship between coping and the limb loss life course.


This report presents findings of research into how veterans with limb loss, and their families, live with limb loss. Using Grounded Theory, data has been collected from 72 veterans and family members using unstructured interviews, structured questionnaires and closed question telephone interviews. Findings indicate, firstly, that the central concern of veterans with limb loss, and families, is coping during living with limb loss, and that the veteran with limb loss and their carer/s may experience differing levels of coping (low, mid, high) during any specific time period. Each coping level is characterised by behaviours/characteristics to which appropriate support can be aligned; secondly, there are distinct time periods where certain types of Blesma/organisational support are more likely to effectively support coping ability. This report presents these findings, which are developed into a practical Living with Limb Loss Support Model (LLSM). The LLSM identifies specific periods where timely support is more likely to be relevant and effective in supporting individual needs and coping levels. Conclusions suggest recommendations for support and practices Blesma and other support organisations could develop, suggestions for future research, and development of an evidence base, that will underpin policy making and service delivery, to enable sustained and positive change for veterans and their families. Furthermore, although this research was carried out with veterans and their family members, the recommendations are intended to be transferable to other persons with limb loss (PWLL) and their families. This is a collaborative study between Blesma and The Veterans & Families Institute for Military Social Research (VFI), at Anglia Ruskin University, and is funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT).

Full Reference

Engward, H., Fleuty, K. and Fossey, M., 2018. Caring and Coping: the family perspective on living with limb loss. London: Blesma.

Report a problem with this article