The Work of the Committee On Prosthetics Education and Information
Harold W. Glattly, M.D. *
Editor's Note: The National Assembly of the Limb and Brace Profession at Dallas, Texas, heard a report "And What of the Physician?" describing the work of the Committee on Prosthetics Education and Information of the National Research Council. It was presented by Harold W. Glattly. M.D., Secretary of the Committee. An abstract of Dr. Glattly's remarks follows.
Dr. Glattly opened his remarks by stating that the Committee on Prosthetics Education and Information (CPEI) is vitally interested in plans concerning the education and training of prosthetists and orthotists. He presented the best wishes of Dr. Alfred R. Shands. Jr., Chairman of CPEI, and expressed for him the desire for close working relationships with the recently organized Education Committee of the American Orthotics and Prosthetics Association.
A brief outline of the interests and activities of the Committee was presented. To begin with, CPEI has been quite successful during the past year in documenting the national needs in terms of a prosthetics educational program. This has been accomplished through contacts with the physicians and, more recently, the physical therapists who have evidenced their interest in amputee care and management by taking the courses at the prosthetics schools. These individuals have given a picture of what needs to be done throughout the United States in order that the amputee population can receive the benefit of modern rehabilitation services. The many suggestion, received fall into the following three areas:
- The undergraduate and graduate training of the medical and relevant paramedical disciplines with respect to the modern concepts of amputee care and management.
- An informational program that will reach the members of these disciplines who are already out in practice.
- The organization of amputee clinics in areas where such specialized facilities are today not available.
The success of this national program will require a wide variety of activities conducted by many groups and organizations. This general principle has been recognized by the two government agencies most concerned with improving amputee rehabilitation services-the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Veterans Administration that they are both giving support to a number of activities that fall within the broad area of prosthetics education. The assistance given to the prosthetics schools by OVR and the publication of the journal ARTIFICIAL LIMBS by VA are examples. It is recognized that there are many parts to be played in the total program. In this regard, it is believed that a committee of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council can best assist by assuming a liaison and correlating role with respect to groups and individuals who are interested in improving amputee rehabilitation services. Although a committee of the Academy-Research Council cannot by its very nature become an operating agency, such a group can serve a useful purpose by stimulating the interest and active participation of appropriate groups in prosthetics educational activities and in assisting those who are already so engaged.
In considering a national prosthetics educational program, the Committee believes that it is very important to include the basic principles of amputee management in undergraduate medical education. To obtain factual information with respect to the status of prosthetics in medical education, a spot-check survey was made of 28 medical schools through their departments of orthopedic surgery and physical medicine. Almost all of the reporting members of the faculties of these medical schools stressed the need of teaching materials, including audiovisual aids, as a means of providing better training for their residents, interns, and medical students. An ad hoc subcommittee of CPEI, under the chairmanship of Dr. J. Hamilton Allan, has been formed to study this matter and make recommendations. A similar study is being made of the present status of prosthetics in schools of physical and occupational therapy.
There is a need to give increased emphasis to prosthetics in residency programs in the fields of orthopedic surgery and physical medicine. A prerequisite to this program is the availability of organized amputee clinics in the training hospitals.
A major deterrent to improved amputee services lies in the lack of knowledge on the part of the medical profession at large with respect to the modern concepts of amputee care and management. The Committee is interested in promoting grass-roots types of prosthetics programs. An invitation was recently received from the American College of Surgeons to present prosthetics demonstrations at their regional meetings. The Northwestern University prosthetics school has offered to take the first of these programs that will be held in Minneapolis next spring. The Committee has been requested by Mr. Charles L. Eby, Director of the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation for the State of Pennsylvania, to work with his organization to improve amputee services in that state.
The Committee on Prosthetics Education and Information has been very gratified with the interest that has been evidenced in a prosthetics educational program and by the many offers of assistance that have come from all parts of the country from individuals who are interested in improving amputee services. With this type of support, it can be expected that the program will gain momentum.
S. H. Camp and Company in 1960 will hold its 32nd Annual series of fitting courses. These are for men and women, desiring to become skilled garment and appliance fitters.
Enrollment is now open for the 1960 classes which may be taken either in New York City February 1-4, at the Sheraton Atlantic Hotel, or in Chicago March 14-17, at the Edgewater Beach Hotel.
In each city the four days of instruction will cover the rudiments of anatomy, body mechanics, modern developments in medical science relating to the therapeutic value of scientific supports, braces and appliances. Lectures, visual instruction and practical demonstrations with live models representing many customer types and their needs are included in the course.
The courses also give students an insight into methods of creating good patron relationships, developing confidence in their own abilities and in giving satisfaction to the patient and doctor.
Many members of AOPA have taken these courses in previous years. The faculty over the years has included many leaders in the field of orthotics.
Shown here (
) is a picture of the prosthetic Clinic at Columbia Hospital in Milwaukee. This is one of the clinics featured in the Educational Exhibit shown at this year's meetings of the American College of Surgeons.
The Clinic meets monthly or more often if necessary to consider cases referred by physicians throughout the State of Wisconsin. Participating agencies in the Clinic are: the Community Rehabilitation Project, the State Rehabilitation Division and the Bureau for Handicapped Children. The mechanics of the Clinic include
- Initial evaluation and prescription for therapy and prosthesis.
- Initial check-out of prostheses at next meeting.
- Training in Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy if limb passes the check-out procedures.
- Final evaluation by clinic team.
- Recheck in six months or more often if necessary.
The clinic has been found useful in the teaching of residents in training from the VA Hospital at Milwaukee who attend, to learn about upper extremity prosthetics. Other students include those from physical therapy and occupational therapy classes at the University of Wisconsin, Marquette University, Milwaukee Downer College and Mount Mary College.