Your stories: Robert and Steve

Robert and Steve have both had their left legs amputated because of aggressive infections. Although only 9 years apart, their age difference has led to very different experiences accessing assistive technology.
Robert, aged 67, stands in his garden in shorts with his prosthetic leg visible.
Robert, pictured in his garden.
Steve, aged 56, in his workshop. His prosthetic leg is visible under his shorts.

Robert, pictured top, is 67. Steve, pictured below, is 56. Both had their left legs amputated as a result of an aggressive infection. Robert’s leg was amputated in 2010, with Steve’s leg amputated in 2011.

Robert receives support under a state-based artificial limb scheme. This does not provide him with appropriate access to supports, assistive technology or home modifications. Steve’s NDIS plan provides him with access to an array of reasonable and necessary funded supports.

Robert’s mechanical knee is not safe and he falls regularly. His prosthetic foot is very basic and does not provide energy return. This makes him tired.

When he is feeling tired because of his prosthetic foot or after he has had a fall, Robert uses an old wheelchair. It is heavy and hard for him to push around. Robert worked full-time until last year. He has reduced his hours to part-time because of the many falls he was experiencing.

Robert is not able to gain funding to modify his house. He cannot afford anything more than minimal modifications. This includes a board across his bath for personal washing. He would like grip bars in the wet areas (bathroom, toilet) – which would reduce his risk of falling.

With his first NDIS plan two years ago, Steve received funding for a microprocessor knee unit (computer controlled) and multi-axis prosthetic foot. The microprocessor knee unit has enabled him to return to full-time work. Because of modifications made to his home, with funding he received under his NDIS plan, and the microprocessor knee unit, Steve has not had a fall. His NDIS plan has covered bathroom modifications and a ramp at the rear of his home. Steve leads an active lifestyle with his wife and two children. This includes regularly walking his dog on the beach.

Under his NDIS plan, Steve can trial a variety of prosthetic devices to determine which one suits him. He is able to choose his assistive devices and service providers (allied health).

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Robert, aged 67, stands in his garden in shorts with his prosthetic leg visible.

Robert and Steve

Robert and Steve have both had their left legs amputated because of aggressive infections. Although only 9 years apart, their age difference has led to very different experiences accessing assistive technology.