How do you prepare for winter adaptive sports?

QUESTION:

Hello, with winter and winter weather coming, I am concerned about staying active.  How do you select an activity or adaptive sport?  How do you prepare for winter adaptive sports? - Wayne G.

Eric Flynn tries on his adaptive skis.

ANSWER:

Good question, especially since it has already snowed here in Maryland and it is not even the first day of winter yet!  There are many types of sports in the winter – skiing, snowboarding, hockey, and others. You may be wondering – can I use my orthosis or prosthesis? The answer really depends on how you want to participate in the sport. Many sports can be done either with or without adaptations. For example, you can ski the traditional way with two skis while wearing your device, or if you aren’t comfortable with that, then give sit skiing a try, and you don’t have to wear the orthosis or prosthesis. Same goes with hockey – you can try sled hockey if you don’t want to wear your device, or you can participate with it!. There are many community resources available that can provide more details about your interests, so check them out. 

Eric Flynn using his skis last year.

In fact, here is an excellent link to a document from the latest issue of CHALLENGE Magazine.  It is published three times a year by Disabled Sports USA, Inc. The magazine includes a lot of good information about adaptive sports for all seasons.  Click here to read the article.

Here are a few Maryland organizations to contact for local adaptive sports as referenced from CHALLENGE Magazine. You can click on the link:

Baltimore Adapted Recreation and Sports  Parkton, MD 478-227-7386

Bennet Institute Physically Challenged Sports Program of Kennedy Krieger                    Baltimore, MD    443-923-7844

Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating  Annapolis, MD 410-266-5722

Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba (SUDS)  Bethesda, MD 202-341-9750

Team River Runner, Inc.  Rockville, MD 703-532-6070

You may also be wondering, if I do use my device for sports, is there anything I should be worried about or watch out for? Try to keep any metal parts from getting wet. If the device does get wet, don’t use a hair dryer or any other drying product with it. Let it air dry and call your orthotist/prosthetist for advice. Also, watch out for any skin irritation from extra sweating in your device, or wear socks if appropriate to maintain fit or for skin protection. If your sport is high contact or if you fall, it could cause damage to the device. If you think your orthosis or prosthesis may be damaged, or if you have any questions or concerns, please call your practitioner! We are always happy to help.

- Kristen Beltran, CO Board Eligible Prosthetist

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

 

3D-Too is getting something special for the holidays.

Is there a use for donated prostheses and orthoses?

This is a general question that we are asked periodically.  In fact, we have addressed it here in the past.  In light of the hurricane damage suffered by many Americans, and the damage from wildfires in the western United States, it has come up again.

YES.  Donated prostheses and orthoses are welcome.   

Sometimes patients find that they no longer need a particular device or supplies.  Occasionally a patient passes away and a family member wants to make sure that the device can go to good use to someone in need. Recently a patient asked us if we could pass on some supplies to someone in need.  These supplies were actually found by a friend at a thrift store who asked if they could be useful.

For orthoses, gently used is best.  For prostheses, if the device cannot be used as is or with minor repairs, then the parts can be used.  We receive the device and provide you with a receipt which itemizes your donation.  We do not assign a dollar value - that is up to you.  Since all organizations we work with are non-profit, then this donation is a tax deductible item.

Once you leave it with us, we evaluate the device for its best use, and sort items into a holding place until we can move them along. We often donate pediatric orthoses to an orphanage in China (you can read about that patient story New Day Foster Home in our archive by clicking here.)  Other devices make their way to organizations we work with in Mexico, St Vincent and the Grenadines, or Guatemala.  We have also sent practitioners on mission trips to work with patients and they take devices with them.  Sometimes we send devices to organizations who make specific requests of us.  Recently we sent supplies to one of our professional partners to help Puerto Rico.

We are always grateful that our patients and their family members recognize that others can make good use of items that they may no longer need and that we can facilitate that donation. If you have any other questions about donations, please do not hesitate to give us a call!

-Mark Hopkins, PT, CPO, MBA, CEO and President Dankmeyer, Inc.

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

What am I signing for if I am asked to sign when I leave the office?

3DPO demonstrates the electronic signature pad.

Question:

There are times when I am leaving your office that I'm asked to sign my name on a signature pad.  What am i signing for? - Daniel L.

Answer:

Daniel, this is a great question.  In most cases, you are signing a Proof of Delivery receipt for the item and/or service you received that day.  Proof of Delivery is required in order to verify you received the device(s), repair, adjustment, or supplies.  The document includes:

 

  • Your name
  • The location where the item/service was delivered to you
  • A detailed description of each item delivered to you
  • The quantity
  • The date of delivery
  • Your signature

Proof of Delivery is a Medicare requirement based on their Supplier Standards which states providers must maintain proof of delivery for all items delivered to a patient.  There may also be instances when your insurance company requests confirmation that you received all of the items submitted on the claim.  With your signed Proof of Delivery, the items can be verified and the claim for that service gets paid.  If you would like to see what you’re signing for, please ask us, we will be happy to print you out a copy at any time!

- 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 a personalized lamination?

QUESTION:

I would like to understand what is meant by lamination and in particular what is a personalized lamination?   - Kerry J.

ANSWER:

Hey Kerry!  The quick answer - a personalized lamination is anything other than the traditional colors used for the outside layer of a lamination of a prosthetic leg socket - colors which would match a person’s skin tone.  All laminations are customized for the patient’s individual prosthesis.  Sometimes a patient selects to laminate their socket with a layer in something more personal - something other than a skin tone.

A lamination can consist of a number of different materials layered one on top of the other - from carbon, fiberglass, nylon and Nyglass (a combination of nylon and fiberglass.) These materials are used in different ways and layers to meet each prosthesis wearer’s strength, activity level and weight bearing requirements.  We want the prosthesis to be as light as possible but also hold up to those requirements.  Once the layered materials are put on the cast, a poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) bag is pulled over the material on the cast and a laminating resin is introduced into the bag. The technician will work the resin into the layered material so that each layer is saturated. After this is achieved, the technician will work out the extra resin so as not to add weight to the socket.  

A personal lamination is the same as a regular lamination except that the final, outermost layer of material will be a fabric that the person has chosen to express a personal look on the socket. What is a good fabric to use?  The fabric must allow water to go through the fabric, because if water will not go through then neither will laminating resin. For instance, silk screened fabrics and fabrics with iron-ons do not work. These seal the fibers of the fabric and don’t allow the resin to saturate it.  A heavy fabric like t-shirt cotton soaks up a lot of resin and can increase the weight of the prosthesis.  A nylon based material (like leggings) works great and does not add any significant weight to the prosthetic leg. 

Why would someone want this kind of lamination?  Some of the factors in selecting a personalized lamination might be to express a person’s personality.   Sometimes the lamination allows the wearer to make the leg their “own” - making it a little easier to adjust to the prosthesis.   Sometimes that final look can make the difference in whether or not a person wants to wear the prosthesis. We see this a lot with children - with anything from superheroes to favorite animated characters on the finished socket.    

We have a gallery of some personalized laminations here - each of these was created by using a fabric that the patient supplied - so these are one of a kind sockets!  Click on any picture to enlarge the image.  Be sure to scroll down below to see a slideshow of Brian Day, Fabrication Technician, as he finishes the socket after a fabric with a wolf's head has been used as the final layer of the lamination.   

Dankmeyer is happy to personalize a lamination at no extra charge to Dankmeyer patients.   Thanks for your question! - Chuck Poole, Director of Fabrication

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

 

Will Medicare pay for a new ankle brace whenever I need one?

Question:

Will Medicare pay for a new ankle foot orthosis whenever I need one? - Candace F.

ANSWER:

We wish it were that easy!  The determining factor for whether or not there is a Medicare benefit depends on the reason a new orthosis is being ordered by a physician.  Has your medical condition changed and your current orthosis no longer meets your medical needs?  If yes, Medicare will provide a benefit for a new one.  However, if it’s simply because you want a new orthosis, then no, Medicare will not pay for a new one.  Medicare also considers a 5 year Reasonable Useful Lifetime policy in regards to normal wear and tear of lower limb orthoses.  What does this mean?  If you have had your current orthosis for less than 5 years and it is simply showing signs of normal wear and tear, Medicare will not pay for a replacement and you would be financially responsible for the cost of a new one.  It is important to note that the five year period begins with the date the device is delivered to you, as that is the date used on the claim submitted to Medicare.     

Provided we receive an accurate medical history and appropriate insurance information from you, you can rest assured our Patient Services Coordinators will apply their extensive insurance knowledge to your service and will notify you of any financial responsibility you may have prior to proceeding with the service.  If your service is in process and there is a change to your insurance benefit, we will immediately notify you of any changes to your financial responsibility, as well.  We are committed to inform you of your insurance coverage, as well as any financial responsibility you may have, each and every time you receive care from us.  Have a great summer!

- 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.