Perspective from Kristine McGuire, LCSW, CCTP
Location: Aurora, CO
Job: Licensed Clinical Social Worker at UCHealth
Tell us about your work with patients facing limb loss or limb challenges. Why did you choose this line of work?
Kristine: My name is Kristine McGuire and I am a licensed clinical social worker at the University of Colorado Hospital Orthopedics clinics. I have been in the field of social work since 2008 and have worked in various specialty areas including forensics (courts/jails/prisons) as well as within the healthcare setting. I started working at UCHealth Orthopedics in 2020 which has been an exceptionally rewarding experience. I feel fortunate to be able to work in such a capacity to help support patients and their families during the limb salvage process, as well as pre and post-amputation, as it can often become psychologically (and financially) taxing. Watching a patient stand for the first time with their prosthetic is such a powerful and rewarding experience that never gets old.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
One of the most rewarding parts of my career happened recently – a couple of years ago, I sat with the parents of a teenager who was horrifically injured to help them navigate the decision of limb salvage versus amputation. They ultimately chose amputation due to the severity of the injury to their child’s limb. It has been overwhelming to watch his resiliency physically and psychologically as he becomes a champion for disability rights and prosthetic coverage.
What kind of hope do you see for patients facing limb loss in the future?
I am hopeful that more clinicians in my field familiarize themselves with the potential barriers to accessing care as well as the psychological impacts that patients with limb loss and limb difference could experience.
What is some new research or developments that you are excited about?
Right now, I am part of a group working with Rep. David Ortiz to advance legislation for recreational prosthetic coverage for those under 26 years old in Colorado (HB23-1136). I am very excited about helping with the push to get this bill passed and other potential legislative opportunities for this community.
Why did you get involved with the Limb Preservation Foundation?
I became involved with the Limb Preservation Foundation as a happy accident while researching potential resources for the patients that I serve in clinic. I repeatedly had patients experience barriers to care as they would often travel from rural Colorado or even out of state. I ultimately discovered the LPF and have found them instrumental in helping alleviate some of the financial burdens that my patients experience so they can try focusing on healing.
Why would you recommend patients reach out to the Limb Preservation Foundation?
Because every little bit helps. Nobody should have to experience a limb-threatening condition alone and there are amazing people who can help – even just a little bit.