Editor's Note - June 2019

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By Andrea Spridgen

For many, summer means getting out to enjoy sunshine and the outdoors. But this can create challenges for people with mobility issues who rely on the creativity and knowledge of O&P professionals to keep them off the sidelines. Chief among the issues facing individuals with lower-limb amputations is the risk of falls and knowing how to identify and manage that risk. It is also imperative that patients have access to the right device and receive guidance about how to use it correctly.

Reported incidences of falls by people with lower-limb amputations supports the assumption that a fall at some point is inevitable. While there is risk during the immediate post-amputation and inpatient rehabilitation phase, studies show that the greater risk follows the return home. "Can We Catch Them Before They Fall?" discusses two screening measures that have emerged as reliable indicators to identify individuals at elevated risk, which may help practitioners mitigate the severity of falls through using preventive strategies with them.

Weekend warriors and aging adults with cumulative knee damage may benefit from knee orthoses, but O&P professionals know that even with a physician's prescription, proper use of such devices is crucial to their effectiveness. In addressing the separation of O&P from durable medical equipment suppliers and prohibiting the practice of drop-shipping orthoses, soon-to-be-introduced legislation would help to ensure patients have access to the devices and receive care from a credentialed O&P professional to keep them moving. Read more in "Federal Medicare O&P Legislation Gets a Reboot."

Finally, in the past year or so, the media has concentrated a lot on bias in various forms. We don't often stop to think about the way that plays into our healthcare interactions with practitioners, however. As the demographics within O&P shift to include a greater percentage of women, "How Does Gender Impact Medical Encounters?" challenges us to examine our ideas of what we expect in our interactions with female and male healthcare professionals and how that impacts our evaluation of their effectiveness.

Happy reading.