The loss of an arm or leg has a huge impact on quality of life. In addition to the restrictions that an amputation means for daily activities, those affected often suffer from phantom pain, which is difficult to treat. In Ukraine, under conditions of war, it is difficult to provide the large number of amputees with access to appropriate care in terms of surgery, pain management and rehabilitation.
The PAMELA - Prevention And Management of Phantom Limb Pain - project aims to prevent and manage Phantom Limb Pain in people who have undergone an amputation in Ukraine. PAMELA is being funded by the Else Kröner Fresenius Foundation. The project will be coordinated jointly by Winfried Meissner, a pain specialist from Jena University Hospital with Volodymyr Romanenko, a neurologist and board member of the Ukrainian Pain Society. PAMELA will be developed by multi-disciplinary teams from Ukraine, Germany and internationally.
“Since the beginning of the full-scale war in February 2022 in Ukraine, approximately 50,000 individuals have lost a limb, mainly young women and men. Phantom limb pain is the most common chronic pain condition in amputees, affecting up to 80% of people”, explains Romanenko.
A digital application, ‘app’, will guide patients through a series of therapeutic steps and it will monitor their progress. “It is our aim to bring the therapy as close to the patient as possible”, Meissner describes the project’s approach. The app provides tools facilitating self-management of phantom limb pain and it will be complemented by evidence-based recommendations addressing amputation surgery and anesthesia, management of phantom limb pain and rehabilitation that can be used by the patients themselves and/or their care providers.
The app is based on a platform developed by Routine Health, an SME, from Düsseldorf in Germany. Over the last few years, the developers have gained extensive experience of using the app in terms of usability and means of offering the therapy using methods such as mirror therapy, graded motor imagery and augmented reality. The app will be adapted and tailored for use in Ukraine through testing with amputees while they are cared for in hospital, rehabilitation centers or at home.
Clinical experts from the Hannover Medical University will add their expertise addressing amputation surgery and rehabilitation. A large group of leading international experts from Ukraine, Germany, South Africa, US and Israel will form PAMELA’s Advisory Board.
The PAMELA project is financially supported by the Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation. The charitable foundation is dedicated to promoting medical research and supporting humanitarian projects. To date, it has funded around 2,400 projects. With an annual funding volume of currently over 60 million euros, it is the largest foundation in Germany that promotes medicine.
The project will be managed jointly by Prof. Winfried Meissner and Dr. Volodymyr Romanenko.
In Ukraine: Dr. Volodymyr Romanenko
Ukrainian Association for the Study of Pain https://www.pain.in.ua/