How to Find A New Prosthetist
Once you’ve decided to find a new Prosthetist, there are resources available to help assist you in your search. Below are Certification Boards and Professional Associations with directories you can use to make an initial list.
“The American Board for Certification (ABC) is the national certifying and accrediting body for the orthotic, prosthetic and pedorthic professions.” On their site, you will find a directory of certified individuals, accredited facilities, or Emeritus Individuals.
Scroll midway down the page and you'll find a blue box "Find a Certificant or Facility in your area". This a great place to find Prosthetists to add to your list of potential prosthetic providers.
Prosthetist Finder allows you to filter the search based on your unique needs to find the Prosthetist for you. Its best feature is the site's ability to filter Prosthetists “by level of experience, credentials, preferred hours, or Spanish fluency.” Set a maximum search distance from your home to help locate a Prosthetist that's closest to you.
AOPA works through government relations efforts to impact policies and bring awareness to the field of Prosthetics and Orthotics. Search for Prosthetic Facilities that are members of AOPA.
AAOP is tasked with advancing the standards of prosthetic care through education, research, advocacy and collaboration. This is a good place to look for more credentialed Prosthetists.
What to Look For in a Prosthetist
Choosing the right Prosthetist and developing a lasting relationship is essential for your rehabilitation and ongoing care. Consider the following factors that may affect your decision-making and ensure that you find the Prosthetist that’s right for you:
- Credentials: Check their certifications to ensure they're still in good standing
- Experience: Choose a specialist who has enough experience, especially in the type of prosthesis you wear. Questions to ask are: how many years have you worked in the prosthetic field? Do you have any specialized experience? Are you certified by manufacturers to provide specific components like computer legs or vacuum suspension systems?
- Follow-up care: "Aftercare support" or follow-up care goes beyond their initial services. Look for a Prosthetist who is not only an expert, but also a proactive individual in providing adequate follow-up.
- Measurement: According to Paradigm Outcomes, "a good Prosthetist will use evidence-based medicine, leading to better outcomes". Make sure that your future Prosthetist's goals align with yours.
- Knowledge in support groups: As this is a life-long journey, having an amputee support group that understands what you're going through is vital. A good Prosthetist has connections or a network of support groups that they can refer you to. Learn more about Amputee Support Groups.
The Difference between ABC and BOC Certification
According to the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics, ABC certification is
"considered the profession's highest standard for professionals providing orthotic, prosthetic and pedorthic patient care and technical services. These credentials are awarded to individuals who have met ABC’s education, experience and competency assessment requirements."
BOC, or the Board of Certification/Accreditation, is a non-profit, independent agency
"dedicated to meeting the demands for quality patient care by offering highly valued credentials for professionals and suppliers of comprehensive orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) care and durable medical equipment (DME) services."
At the end of the day, it's important to do your homework and practice due diligence before deciding on a new Prosthetist. Consider factors like expertise, certification, and even practical ones like distance from your home or those who can provide follow-up services. It may seem like a daunting task, but the amount of time and effort you put into selecting a new Prosthetist will be worth it for a successful journey in this chapter of your life.