Focusing on Patient Issues Beyond O&P

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Andrea Spridgen

I believe every issue of The O&P EDGE  is ultimately about patients; after all, they are at the heart of everything you do as O&P professionals. This month, though, we focus on aspects of patient needs that may fall outside the parameters of O&P care but that nevertheless impact your ability to help patients achieve successful outcomes.

O&P education does not include in-depth training in psychological counseling or conflict resolution; however, lack of training in these areas does not exempt clinicians from the necessity of managing psychosocial issues in their patient interactions. In “Mitigating Challenging Patient Situations,” Michelle J. Hall, CPO, MS, FAAOP, and Ellen B. Snoxell, PhD, ABPP, provide tips for managing some common scenarios you may deal with in your patient encounters. From another perspective, “The Unmentionables of Health” looks at how external factors such as job stress, finances, psychological well-being, and other lifestyle elements can impact patient success. While the research examined in this article is not confined to O&P-specific populations, it may provide insight into how these factors impact the overall health and well-being of your patients, and thus influence O&P concerns and outcomes.

Lack of sensation is another issue facing patients that researchers may be getting closer to solving with technology. For people who use upper-limb prostheses, the lack of sensation not only interferes psychologically with the ability to connect to others through the sense of touch, but also physically, with the inability to sense the force with which they are squeezing an object, for example. “Building a Better Hand With the HAPTIX Project” introduces some of the current research initiatives that seek to solve this sensory input challenge.

Finally, we bring you a special consumer article from the contributing editor of Amplitude magazine, Rick Bowers. In “The Myth of a Loveless Future,” Bowers addresses a common fear among those who have recently undergone an amputation—that their limb loss will interfere with having fulfilling romantic relationships. He dispels this notion through the personal story of Jim and Eileen Haag; the two met and married some years after Jim’s amputations.

I hope this issue offers insight into patient issues that can impact care beyond the typical O&P concerns. If you will be attending the Amputee Coalition National Conference, please stop by The O&P EDGE  booth #210. Also, I encourage you to participate in the EDGE Salary Survey, if you haven’t already. Visit by July 15; provide an e-mail address for a chance to win a GoPro HERO3 (e-mail addresses and responses will not be linked, so your survey responses will be anonymous).

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