In the last decade, many changes have taken place in the field of physical therapy and in the care of individuals who need prostheses and orthoses. Improved technology, major developments in computerized components and robotics, as well as new materials have enabled many disabled individuals to return to useful and functional lives. Military personnel who have lost limbs or lost the use of parts of limbs are now able to remain in the military and fulfill all required duties.
In the same decade, the expectations of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants have also changed dramatically. Physical therapists are now educated at the doctoral level and expected to make diagnoses, establish treatment plans, implement or supervise the implementation of complex interventions, as well as participate in research to further the knowledge base of the profession. As its cousin Amputation and Prosthetics: A Case Study Text, this book is designed to assist the physical therapy student become an effective clinical decision maker when working with individuals in need of prostheses and orthoses. It is also designed to help the physical therapist assistant student gain the knowledge and skills necessary to be an effective member of the physical therapy team. Although written primarily as a text, this book can also serve as an excellent reference for the practitioner who may not be current in these areas.
The case studies found in each chapter and the accompanying activities facilitate an active learning process. Whether individually or in small groups, working through the stimulus questions enables the student to apply the information provided to actual situations. The decision-making process of the physical therapist is emphasized in the student activities; the role of the physical therapist assistant is also considered in the specifically designed physical therapist assistant activities. Even though the book contains information and concepts beyond the practice of the physical therapist assistant, understanding each other's scope of practice continues to be important for effective teamwork. The online faculty manual is a guide for the faculty—particularly faculty who do not have a strong background in these areas.
Whether working with only one or two patients in need of appliances or in a facility where similar patients are treated frequently, this book can be a resource for all practitioners and improve their ability to provide the most up-to-date care for all individuals in need of prostheses or orthoses.
Bella J. May, EdD, PT, CEEAA, FAPTA