As we have learned during this series, occupational therapy is a critical component of upper limb prosthetic rehabilitation. The problem is we rarely see an individual with an actual upper limb amputation. We are not familiar with the prosthetic technology, and it is hard to keep up with the diverse developments in the arena of prosthetic technology.
Despite the ever changing technology, specialty training is always beneficial. This course will not certify you in a specific technology, only introduce you to it. Please feel free to use the resources that I list at the end and access the manufacturers. Look at their websites and investigate what course work they offer. Many times they offer coursework at relatively no cost to you, especially if you are actively engaged in training a patient in the use of their technology.
The role of the occupational therapist in the arena of upper limb prosthetic rehabilitation includes preparing the limb, helping our patients to adjust and accommodate to their limb difference and actually engaging them in the prosthetic training process. This includes specific tasks, learning skills, learning to position the body and also being aware of postural strategies. The importance of OT is that we can accelerate the rehabilitation process and we are truly essential to our patient’s success in their acquisition of functional independence and to helping them achieve a very positive quality of life.
Today we are going to talk about management and resources. When I talk about management, we are going to be talking about how we manage our patients through the different phases of treatment and what factors interplay. We will be discussing the phases of treatment, the treatment methods, some adaptive strategies, some assistive devices, the importance of the team approach, psycho-social aspects to consider, some case studies and of course my resources and references.
It takes a team in rehab and we are very fortunate as occupational therapists to be in a very team-oriented kind of industry. With our patients with upper limb deficiency or those who have experienced loss, we are likely to see a host of the disciplines represented and they are all important. What is most important about this is the patient and his or her needs. There has to be good communication between the patient and every single member of the team and within the team so we all know what is happening. None of us is as important as the client, and what we are doing to help to make the difference is his or her life.