It is very important for you to know that the choice of a Prosthetist IS YOURS.
The recommendations below are based on my experiences since 2010, which includes my research, training as a Peer Visitor with the Amputee Coalition of Canada (ACC) as well as extensive interaction with other amputees in support groups, research projects, and other venues.
While at a Residential Rehabilitation Centre I was provided, by the Physiotherapy Staff, a list of local Prosthetic Suppliers.
Note: A listing of all Certified Prosthetic Suppliers in BC may be obtained by visiting www.poabc.ca/ (Prosthetic & Orthotics Association of BC).
List of Suppliers:
1. I was provided with a list of the Prosthetic Suppliers in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley Area of BC. Note that a listing of all Certified Prosthetic Suppliers in BC may be obtained by visiting www.poabc.ca/ (Prosthetic & Orthotics Association of BC).
2. I was advised that as all Businesses on the List were licensed and qualified in BC to supply Prosthetic Limbs, the Rehab Facility felt they were all Professional and capable of fitting and making Prosthetic Limbs as necessary.
Selecting a Supplier:
3. Physiotherapy Staff advised that the preferred method of selection was for me to select 3 or 4 businesses from the list in order that I may meet and interview a chosen person from the supplier.
Researching the Suppliers:
4. In order to make a choice of which Prosthetists to interview, I was advised to speak to other amputees at the Rehab Facility, conduct research on the Internet on the Firms, speak with other amputees at Support Group Meetings etc.
Conflict of Interest:
5. Physiotherapy Staff advised that they were not allowed to recommend a specific Firm or Prosthetist for ethical reasons. This position should also be a guideline for doctors, unless the patient is subject of an extremely complicated case, necessitating very complicated treatment. It is evident why this common sense approach is highly recommended. To do otherwise invites the perception, if not fact, of possible “kickbacks” or personal favouritism. The choice should therefore be left to the amputee.
6. Specific areas of concern during the interviews should include:
A. Personal “Chemistry” between the amputee and the Prosthetist; NOT the chemistry between the Doctor or Physiotherapist and the Prosthetist. Do you feel that your personalities are compatible? Can you trust and work with this person? Communication is essential – indeed, paramount!
B. Geographic Location: Proximity to the amputee for numerous and ongoing appointments. A secondary consideration – dependent on your transportation situation.
7. The Prosthetist should be made aware of what “life style” you wish to lead in order that your prosthesis be built to best serve you in that pursuit whether it be work, hobbies, athletic activity and living conditions. Ideally, the Prosthetist should broach this subject with you – otherwise you should make them aware of it.
Inquire as to their billing policy. Try to ascertain if they stay knowledgeable in the most recent technology, research and available prosthesis on the market.
8. Please visit the following Websites:
www.amputee.coalition.org/ (Amputee Coalition of America) – and query (search for) “How to Choose a Prosthetist”, and - usinter.net/wasa/contents9g.html (Western Amputee Support Alliance (WASA) – How to Choose a Prosthetist.
9. It is very important that you realize that the selection of a Prosthetist is your choice and that you may change your Prosthetic Firm at any time. Pharmacare supports this as long as your new Firm is able to justify the change in order to improve treatment. You may be asked to supply a letter to Pharmacare in support of the change. Any valid Firm is capable of facilitating the change.
SUBMITTED BY: Don R. Willcock – Member of the Board - ACBC