Transitions

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By Andrea Spridgen
Andrea Spridgen

As we focus on concerns related to pediatric O&P care in this issue, our attention turns to a subject very much on my mind: transitions. For those of us who live in climates with four seasons, the weather during May heralds the arrival of spring and the transition toward summer. And for me, personally, this year it's also a time for witnessing one of the key transitions from childhood to adulthood as my husband and I prepare for our daughter's high school graduation.

With the transition from childhood to adulthood also comes changing healthcare needs and learning to navigate the world of adult-healthcare providers, as described in the cover feature, "Quantum Leap: Transitioning from Pediatric to Adult Care." While this process can be confusing for any young person, for those with complex healthcare needs, lack of an adequate handoff can have dire consequences. Because pediatric O&P patients with childhood-onset conditions will likely continue to need prosthetic or orthotic care through their lifetimes, their current practitioners can play an important role as part of the healthcare team during the transition phase.

In "Fast Forward: Adult Outcomes Associated with Pediatric Limb Deficiency," Phil Stevens, MEd, CPO, FAAOP, examines two studies that shed light on how children with limb loss cope with the transition to adult life and the subsequent quality-of-life issues. Beyond immediate concerns of social acceptance, mobility, and prosthetic use during childhood, parents, and perhaps older teens encountering traumatic amputations, may have fears about how childhood limb loss will impact adult quality of life. These studies may offer some encouraging news. The Today's Consumer story in this issue also focuses on change. In this case, Charlotte Nott, who as a preschooler was delighted to use pink, sparkly prostheses, has begun to desire more "natural" looking prosthetic legs at the age of seven. No doubt, as she grows, she'll go through many more transitions, both in how she wants to present herself and the activities she pursues, hopefully with the same determination and good nature that those who work with her have described.

I hope you enjoy this issue focused on helping pediatric O&P patients grow. As we look forward, I encourage you to be on the lookout for our biennial O&P Salary Survey, which will measure transitions the profession has gone through in the past two years. Links for the survey will be sent out via e-mail and available on the oandp.com website early this month.