Outside the Clinic

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By Andrea Spridgen
Andrea Spridgen

When we talk about limb loss or the conditions that necessitate orthotic treatment, we often stress that people who are differently abled are not defined by their differences. Just as they are not defined by the conditions for which they seek O&P services, they are also more than O&P patients-they are sons and daughters, spouses and parents, employees and business owners, anglers and gardeners, and so much more. In keeping with this spirit, we devote this issue to what happens when your patients leave your office-to the things that happen outside the clinic that can have a significant impact on their successful outcomes.

"Welcome Home: Helping People Transition to Life After Amputation" explores ways in which practitioners can work holistically with other healthcare professionals and family members to help individuals manage the life-changing experience of amputation. It's important for prosthetists and patients alike to recognize that making this transition goes beyond learning how to use prostheses to help regain mobility or the ability to perform activities of daily living. The experts we spoke with stress that, when possible, preparation, family involvement in planning for things such as adjustments in responsibilities during recovery, and open communication about how the amputation affects the patient and family members emotionally are key to better outcomes.

With increasing emphasis on proving patients are using the O&P solutions provided for them, finding ways to quantify their activities once they leave the clinic becomes ever more critical. In "Every Step They Take," Phil Stevens, MEd, CPO, FAAOP, tackles this subject as he examines research into the divide between self-report activity measures and the data collected by activity and utilization monitors.

Finally, stepping outside the clinic to fight for access to appropriate care, O&P patients can also be healthcare advocates as we saw late last summer when they joined the industry in the fight against the Draft Local Coverage Determination (LCD) for Lower Limb Prostheses. Peter W. Thomas, JD, shares his insights into how the alignment of patient and practitioner priorities in current O&P reforms and combined advocacy is mutually beneficial in "How Patients Benefit From O&P Policy Reforms."

Thanks for joining us in this issue focusing on what you can learn about patients from what happens outside the clinic. Happy reading.

Congratulations to Christopher Vara, MD, Shriners Hospitals for Children - Twin Cities, Minneapolis, who won an Amazon Fire in the The O&P EDGE drawing at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Association of Children's Prosthetic- Orthotic Clinics.