Lower limb injuries are a common and devastating occurrence in Far North Queensland. Geographical isolation as well as availability of services can contribute to poorer patient outcomes. A dedicated multidisciplinary approach to lower limb trauma between Orthopaedic Surgeons and Plastic Surgeons is of paramount importance to this patient population. One aspect of these injuries which is often overlooked is the psychosocial impact on the patient. Depending on the severity of the injury, prognosis can be guarded and the patient may never return to normal function, this obviously has a tremendous impact on their mental health and can result in depressive episodes, reliance on substance abuse and poor engagement with rehabilitation. Patients from geographically isolated locations are often in hospital for extended periods alone which compounds their risk of chronic mental health deterioration.
In an effort to address this, the authors have developed a protocol for lower limb injuries which included early referral to psychological counselling services, group physiotherapy and occupational therapy as well as dedicated mental health follow up to ensure that the spirit is just as well treated as the flesh.
The authors present the preliminary results of these interventions and their experience with lower limb trauma in the Far North.