One of the things that makes O&P care special and brings such personal satisfaction to clinicians is the relationship they form with their patients. Unlike many other medical professions, O&P practitioners often share in their patients’ long-term journeys, so they frequently interact together. As such, it is important that the practitioners and patients develop partnerships for successful outcomes.
When caring for patients who are overweight, a mutually respectful partnership with open communication becomes even more critical as practitioners seek solutions for techniques and components to meet heavier patients’ needs. “The Weighty Challenges of Bariatric Care” provides suggestions for tackling these challenging situations, including advice about respectful terminology, understanding the complicated causes for obesity and its relationship to patients’ mobility, and being candid that some solutions may not work as expected because of a patient’s size—but that does not mean another solution won’t. The experts we interviewed also offer suggestions for heavy-duty components and ways to encourage physical therapy beyond the initial post-amputation phase.
In this issue we also explore other medical comorbidities that present an increased need for collaboration and teamwork. “Partnering With Your Patients With Diabetes” offers tips for motivating patients, providing education to pedorthic patients to prevent foot ulcers and prosthetic patients to avoid further amputations, and aggressively following up with at-risk patients, including referring them to their physicians at the first sign of an infection or ulcer.
Amputation involves trauma no matter the circumstances, and “Amputation, Planned or Traumatic: How Practitioners Plan and Prepare for Both” explores the way in which clinicians help patients work through the experience. Whether working with a patient before or after an amputation, an essential part of the relationship is recognizing the patient’s emotional state in dealing with his or her amputation and adjusting the approach accordingly. Someone with a planned amputation may have worked through the grief enough to be prepared to embrace inspirational peer stories as motivational, for example, whereas someone with a traumatic amputation may need more time to grieve before being faced with peer success stories.
I hope you enjoy this issue dedicated to the unique relationships that you form with your patients.