What kind of education does my practitioner have?

QUESTION:

What kind of education does my practitioner have?

Kevin B.

ANSWER:

Many people do not know about the education involved with becoming a Certified Prosthetist or Orthotist, as our field is fairly small. This is a common question our patients ask of their practitioners.

The education level for prosthetics and orthotics was raised in 2012 to a master's degree. Prior to 2012, practitioners would complete their bachelor's degree in a major of their choice, and then complete a separate certificate for orthotics and prosthetics. Now, there are no certificate programs available. The only route to become a practitioner is to complete a Master of Orthotics and Prosthetics program.

Once the master's degree is completed, a clinical residency must be completed. Residents can opt to focus on one discipline at a time for 12 months each, or do both orthotics and prosthetics together over the span of 18 months. During residency, residents work under the guidance of the clinical director and clinical mentors to learn patient care, proper documentation, and fabrication techniques. Following the successful completion of the residency, residents then take their board exams.

There are three exams per discipline. One exam per discipline is a clinical exam that takes place in Florida, where candidates are evaluated on their patient care skills and knowledge. After the candidate passes all of the exams, he or she is then bestowed the title of Certified Prosthetist Orthotist (CPO). Practitioners continue to hone their skills after the exams for the rest of their career by completing continuing education through conferences and courses.

Dankmeyer's practitioners have completed education programs all over the country!  You can read about each individual and their education journey on our Clinical Staff page.

Thanks for your question! - Nina Bondre, CPO

Do you have a question you would like to Ask Us? Email us at info@dankmeyer.com.

 

How do I travel with my prosthesis?

QUESTION:

I am a fairly new amputee and plan to take several trips this summer.  What should I know about traveling with a prosthesis?

Melissa C.

ANSWER:

Melissa,

Here are a few tips regarding the most commonly asked questions in terms of summer travel.

Sweat

Many prosthesis wearers find sweat in the summer months to be a frequent concern.  One way to help battle the sweat is to use an antiperspirant on your limb (e.g. Certain Dri has a roll-on version).  With antiperspirants, it is best to apply them at night so they have time to absorb into your skin.  Consistent use of them will also aid in decreasing your sweating over time.  Also, as you sweat, your limb could shrink in size over the day.  It may seem counterintuitive, but putting on extra prosthetic socks could help improve your comfort by tightening up the fit of the prosthesis to reduce pistoning and keep it more tightly secured on your limb.  It is also a good idea to take the prosthesis off a couple of times during the day to let your limb air out, and it would give you a chance to rinse out (using warm water and gentle soap) and towel dry your gel liner, or wipe off your sleeve.

Beach

Taking your prosthesis on the beach?  You may want to consider protecting the components by wrapping any exposed components with clear plastic wrap, or even better – using a waterproof cast sock (such as Xerosox).  If your prosthesis does get wet with salt or chlorinated water, rinse it with fresh water and then dry it completely with a towel.

Airplane 

If you are traveling by air, TSA has some rules for traveling with prostheses and other medical devices. Before you head to the airport, review TSA’s rules so you don't get any surprises at security!  Check here for traveling with prostheses and other medical devices:  https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures?field_disability_type_value=6%20

You can print out and fill in a TSA disability notification card to have ready to show the security officer, in order to help avoid unwanted delays:  https://www.tsa.gov/sites/default/files/disability_notification_card_508.pdf

Car

For those long car rides, you may be more comfortable taking your prosthesis off completely.  Never store your prosthesis in a hot car.

Prosthesis maintenance

Do a visual inspection of your prosthesis before you leave.  See any crack or tears in the liner or sleeve?  Feel any excessive motion or loose parts?  Or hear any strange sounds?  It is recommended that you schedule a routine maintenance check of your prosthesis before your vacation, to help prevent any problems that may occur while you are away.  If you have any concerns about your prosthesis following your trip, that is also a good time for a check-in with your prosthetist.

Thanks for your question! - Angie Bryl, CPO

Do you have a question you would like to Ask Us? Email us at info@dankmeyer.com.

 

What do I do if my prosthesis locking pin gets jammed?

Question:

What can I do if my locking pin gets jammed by a foreign object, and I am stuck in my prosthesis?   Andy

ANSWER:

If your prosthesis is equipped with a push button mechanism which releases your silicone liner to allow you to take off your prosthesis, this mechanism is called a shuttle lock. 

Over the years we have seen shuttle locks get jammed with foreign objects such as paper clips, craft paper and even a chunk of coal!  Usually it is a frayed sock, and the fabric gets caught, or the sock is donned in haste and not pulled up to expose the pin, resulting in the pin and sock being pulled into the locking hole. 

RULES OF THUMB to avoid the lock becoming jammed: 

1.  Do not allow the shuttle lock to become dirty.  Build-up of dirt may cause the lock to malfunction. You should attempt to keep water, sand and dirt out of the socket.

2.  Your socks were specifically made with holes in the bottom.  This hole will allow the pin, located at the bottom of your liner, to be completely exposed.  

3.  Always pull socks on completely, no wrinkles allowed!  Socks which are not pulled up allow the opportunity for the pin and the sock to become jammed inside the locking mechanism.  

4. The lock should be inspected and cleaned by a prosthetist every year.  

IF THE LOCK JAMS:

Do not panic and try to pull yourself out of the prosthesis.  Water may be used as a release agent.  Here is what you do:

  • Get a glass of cold water. 
  • Pour the water between your skin and the liner. 
  • Work the water around the liner to cover as much surface as possible.
  • Gently work your limb out of the liner.  You may have to add water several times as you gently work your leg out of the liner.

Do not attempt to fix a damaged lock yourself. Call your prosthetist for service. 

- Mark Treasure, CP, BOCO

Do you have a question you would like to Ask Us? Email us at info@dankmeyer.com.

 

What can you tell me about the new Medicare Card?

Question:

What is all this I've been hearing about a new Medicare card?  Is the one I already have still good? Mary Beth.

ANSWER:

Thank you for your excellent question, Mary Beth.  In an effort to prevent fraud and fight identity theft, with hopes of keeping taxpayer dollars safe, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are removing Social Security Numbers from all Medicare cards.  You will now have a new and unique Medicare number on your Medicare card. 

Starting in April 2018, Medicare will be mailing new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare on a geographical flow basis.  Maryland and states surrounding Maryland will be in the first wave of new cards that will be mailed starting in April 2018.  So, be on the lookout for your new Medicare card starting in April!  Once you receive it, please be sure to bring it to your next appointment so we can update our records with your new unique Medicare number!  

Your current Medicare card is still valid, however, once you receive your new card, you are encouraged to destroy your old card and start using your new card immediately.   If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage program, you will keep using your plan card as you do now.  For more information you can click here.  Happy Spring!

- Kristin Boswell, Director of Patient Services and Billing

Do you have a question you would like to Ask Us? Email us at info@dankmeyer.com.

 

What is an assistive device?

Question:

I noticed that both my physical therapist and your office asked if I use an assistive device. I am not sure I know what this means. What is an assistive device?   Bobby T.

ANSWER:

Thank you for your question Bobby.  An assistive device is a term that is used to describe a tool or appliance that helps someone overcome a physical disability. This can be anything from a single point cane, to a walker, rollator, wheelchair, power wheelchair or shower chair. It is important for your rehabilitation team to know this information because it provides a picture of how you get around your environment and areas that the treatment plan can focus on to help you meet your goals.

- Jed Newhardt, CPO

Do you have a question you would like to Ask Us? Email us at info@dankmeyer.com.