REHABILITATION SERVICE PROVIDERS
When patients arrive at a Rehabilitation Centre, they are introduced to a team of health care providers who will assist with their rehabilitation process.
A multidisciplinary approach is vital for providing people with the best possible care and health outcomes. Fitting a person with a new prosthesis alone is not enough if the patient is not provided with complementary rehabilitation services, such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy. With COPE’s support, multidisciplinary teams consisting of local surgeons, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, prosthetists and orthotists work together to provide a range of physical rehabilitation services to people throughout Lao PDR.
PROSTHETIST & ORTHOTIST (P&O)
A prosthetist is a specialist in designing, fitting and fabricating artificial limbs, while the orthotist designs, fits and fabricates assistive devices. Often one health worker will have both qualifications. The P&O works with patients and members of the multidisciplinary team to evaluate the most appropriate device and related components for their individual requirements. Because patient bodies and needs change over time, an artificial or assistive device can get worn or damaged, and needs periodic adjustments or replacements. As such, relationships with P&O staff often last over many years and, over time, both patients and their P&Os gain a better understanding about what is right for them.
Physiotherapists assess, treat and prevent disorders in human movement caused by injury and disease. Physiotherapists will assist patients to regain their balance, flexibility, strength and stamina and design an exercise program tailored to each person’s capabilities and requirements. Exercise programmes may include the use of gym facilities. Physiotherapists work directly with patients on the correct use of artificial limbs, wheelchairs and other mobility devices. If a patient has had one or both legs amputated, physiotherapists teach them the transfer method that enables them to move around safely.
The technician/bench worker, in direct assistance to the prosthetist/ orthotist or orthopaedic technologist, fabricates and assembles prosthetic/orthotic devices and takes part in their maintenance, repair and replacement. He/she will be responsible for the economic use of tools and materials and may have management supervision and training duties assigned to him/her. The technician/bench worker is not involved in direct prosthetics/ orthotics service to the user.
Source: ISPO-WHO Guideline for training personnel in developing countries for prosthetic and orthotic services
COPE has supported specialised surgical training on techniques in amputations, deformity correction surgeries such as tendon lengthening and contracture releases as well as clubfoot deformity corrective surgeries. All rehabilitation centres are equipped to perform these surgeries.