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Returning to Farming after Upper-extremity Loss: What the Farmers Say

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. Special Issue (1):129-137 . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15362) @1998
Authors:   D. B. Reed, D.T. Claunch
Keywords:   Injury, Rehabilitation, Amputation, Agriculture, Disability,Technology

Despite the prevalence of disabling injuries in agriculture, little research has explored the occupational rehabilitation process of injured farmers. A qualitative study was undertaken to identify variables farmers with a severe disability, upper-extremity amputations, perceived as important in the return to physical labor on their farms. Sixteen farmers in five states participated in interviews that enabled the researcher to identify variables affecting the rehabilitation process. Physical barriers, social barriers, and resources that influenced rehabilitation were examined. Farmers with upperextremity amputations in this study mastered their disabilities and continued profitable farm operations. Health professionals and others who have contact with farmers with disabilities need to be cognizant of the strong desire and continued ability to farm after severe injury. More attention should be given to farm-specific occupational rehabilitation programs, such as AgrAbility, and in the engineering of prostheses and other assistive technology.

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