Pediatric Care Requires Dynamic Thinking

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Andrea Spridgen

Working with children, whether the discipline is educational, medical, psychological, or daily care, takes a special skillset—the ability to communicate on a level they can understand, provide a sense of comfort, reassurance, and, often, an abundance of patience, as well as your specific professional skills. In addition to meeting children’s unique needs as developing, growing humans, those who provide pediatric services also generally need to coordinate care with the rest of the family. Among the topics in this issue highlighting pediatric concerns, our first feature, “Success With Pediatric Patients” by John Brinkmann, MA, CPO/L, FAAOP(D), addresses research about the general behaviors not directly related to clinical care that may, nevertheless, be as important as the O&P-specific tasks to achieve positive outcomes with these young patients.

In our second feature, Phil Stevens, MEd, CPO, FAAOP, looks at an ever-evolving, and sometimes controversial, topic in O&P, that of 3D-printed prosthetic devices. Notably, he examines recent academic literature that has explored the potential for this technology to be used with pediatric patients as a transitional tool to more sophisticated prosthetic use, as well as for activity-specific devices. While acknowledging limitations, the studies covered reveal the potential for this technology to bridge the gap in providing pediatric prosthetic device solutions if appropriate rehabilitation team members, including trained prosthetists and occupational therapists, are consulted.

Today’s Consumer provides a story in which father and daughter understand each other’s situation in a unique way, as each have Nievergelt’s Mesomelic Dysplasia that resulted in Syme’s amputations. Frank “Scooter” DeMare has had the same prosthetist, Jeff Ropp, CP, since his amputation at age five. Due to his long-standing relationship, he chose Ropp to provide prosthetic care for his daughter, Stella Dibler-DeMare, as well. As you’ll read, Ropp took to heart the importance of meeting the emotional needs of the child in a special way.

As the healthcare climate becomes more competitive and more uncertain, reviewing your practice and having an action plan becomes critical to ensuring that you are prepared for whatever challenges you face. In this issue, we also introduce the first in a multipart Better Business series by Chris Field, MBA, that will guide you in developing an O&P-based business review model.

Happy reading.

Congratulations to Jodi Meeker, a student at Eastern Michigan University, and Katelyn Ward, resident, Bionic Prosthetics & Orthotics, headquartered in Merrillville, Indiana, who each won an Amazon Fire in The O&P EDGE/Amplitude booth drawing at the National Meeting & Scientific Symposium of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists. And congratulations to Joey Zisk who won an Amazon Echo at the meeting; he was within two with his guess of 2,132 M&Ms in the jar.

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