Patient Compliance with Orthotic & Prosthetic Devices and Diabetic Footwear

The February 2010 issue of Lower Extremity Review (www.lowerextremityreview.com) features a must-read article for physicians, O&P clinicians, physical therapists and other healthcare providers regarding the topic of patient compliance. The article, Keys to Compliance in O&P: Practitioners Share their Success Stories by L.W. Barnes, mentions the myriad of problems caregivers face when attempting to obtain patient compliance with the use of orthotic & prosthetic devices and diabetic footwear.

Patients certainly encounter physical, mental and social concerns when it comes to being prescribed with an orthotic/prosthetic device or custom footwear. Concerns about fashion, added weight, reduced breathability and restricted movement with orthotic & prosthetic devices and prescription footwear all result in reduced patient compliance. The unfortunate result of non-compliance is the physical reduction in effectiveness. As Larry Lerman, CO and vice president of Lerman & Sons Orthotics & Prosthetics states, “the device is just a tool. How you use it makes all the difference.” All-too-often, non-compliance leads to troublesome outcomes like diabetic foot ulcers when a patient fails to protect the plantar surface of their foot from skin damage.

Practitioners are faced with the challenging task of educating patients about their new device to encourage compliance. But what happens when the patient goes home? According to Kevin Gavin, CO with Audubon Orthotic & Prosthetic Services, “just two out of 10 kids will not use their braces as instructed.” Adults are not far behind in being non-compliant with device usage – although compliance is often determined by the biomechanical benefits of device usage. In other words, a device that helps a person who otherwise struggles to walk will likely have a greater compliance rate than one that’s attempting to correct or prevent other muscular or skin-related concerns. This is particularly the case with adults suffering from peripheral neuropathy, where diabetic foot ulcers commonly occur once lower limb sensation is reduced.

Click the following title link to read the full-text article >> Keys to Compliance in O&P

What do you do to encourage pediatric & adult compliance with orthotic & prosthetic devices?
Click on the “Leave a comment” link to share your compliance tricks.

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