In 2006 a research team from the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences began research looking into the housing experiences of people with lower limb amputations and the role that housing providers, rehabilitation services and others have in ensuring that the housing needs of this group are met. This study, which is funded by the Health Research Council, runs over the next two years and involves in-depth interviews with 40 people. Of these, 20 will be Non-Māori and 20 Māori, in recognition of the high incidence of amputation in Māori whānau. Lower limb amputees who live in the catchment area covered by the Artificial Limb Centre from south of Hamilton to the Nelson region will be asked if they are willing to participate.

Philippa Howden-Chapman is the principle investigator for this study and is working with an interdisciplinary team from the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences that includes Ms Jo-Ani Robinson (Public Health), Dr Sarah Dean (Rehabilitation and Training), Dr Kevin Dew (Public Health), Dr Mark Weatherall (Medicine) and Professor Chris Cunningham (Centre for Maori Health and Development). Policy makers, disabled people and experts in Maori kaupapa are also advising the team.

The study investigates four key areas related the housing experiences of lower limb amputees. These include the availability and choice of accessible housing and the differing experiences of amputees due to disease and due to injury. It will also include an investigation of the responses of housing providers and the role of public agencies in assisting amputees from the study group to meet their housing needs. Interviews for the study will be conducted in 2006 and 2007, results are expected to be published in 2007. The outcomes of the interviews will help to identify gaps in services and potential policy implications related to disabling conditions and health status, as well as pinpointing possible interventions designed to improve the quality of housing. It is also hoped that this study will lead to further research investigations in this important area.