Soldiers injured on foreign missions now offered quality rehabilitation in Estonia

21. August 2014

The modern new Amputation Rehabilitation Centre was opened in the Rehabilitation Clinic at East-Tallinn Central Hospital today. The conditions in the new centre are considerably more contemporary and it uses the newest medical equipment to offer rehabilitation to both Estonian soldiers injured on foreign missions and civilians.

The centre will make recovery after amputation easier for people who need the treatment, offering them the chance to practise everyday living in a comfortable sample apartment. The prosthesis centre that makes the arm and leg prostheses required for future life is also located in the new rehabilitation centre. Rehabilitation will be provided by qualified specialists who have trained in the UK and USA and taken part in training offered by experienced foreign experts in Estonia.

“Today’s opening is a good example of the long-term cooperation between Estonia and the USA, which proves that both countries are strongly committed to guaranteeing veterans and their families as well as civilians access to the best available treatment,” said American ambassador Jeffrey D. Levine.

The centre was jointly established by the USA and Estonia with the assistance of the US European Command, the Office of Defence Cooperation of the US Embassy and the Government of the Republic of Estonia. Cooperation was launched in 2008 and has now reached a point where a centre with modern equipment and rooms has finally been completed as a joint effort of the Republic of Estonia and the United States of America and with the help of other committed people and organisations.

“The centre is an extremely important opportunity for our patients to receive more effective treatment than before, right here in their home country, and I’m pleased that we can offer this in our hospital's Rehabilitation Clinic,” said Chairman of the Board of East-Tallinn Central Hospital Ralf Allikvee. “On behalf of the hospital, I’d like to thank everyone who’s participated in this lengthy process.”

In addition to the active rehabilitation process, patients can get used to daily life in a comfortable sample apartment that is equipped with everything necessary: a furnished kitchen and lounge, a bedroom and a bathroom and toilet. This allows patients to practise, gain experience and become independent whilst in rehabilitation. The prostheses required by the patients are also made in the centre and the patients can have a say about them throughout the completion process in order to achieve the best results.

All amputees will benefit from this, not just soldiers. The centre welcomes everyone who needs the relevant treatment and support. Its staff hope that everyone who has need of the process will soon have considerably better opportunities to receive suitable prostheses which allow them to practise a range of sports in addition to walking.

“The centre will start offering complete rehabilitation to amputees,” said Commander of the Defence Forces, Major General Riho Terras. “Experience and a complete team vision of what amputees need in order to recover and cope with life are also important in addition to state-of-the-art equipment.”

Around 1200 patients are treated in the Rehabilitation Clinic every year. 500 limb amputations are carried out in Estonia every year, which are followed by lengthy cooperation between different specialists and a rehabilitation process that requires very specific equipment – the treatment process for all of which will now take a completely new direction.