Why You May Need to Travel to Find Excellent Upper Limb Prosthetic Care
by Amber Henson, on Nov 25, 2019
Let’s say you need heart surgery. There’s only one general surgeon available in your local region. They’re an accomplished surgeon, but they only perform heart surgery once or twice a year. Would you feel comfortable going to them?
According to the Amputee Coalition*, only about 10% of all amputations are upper limb. That means the average general prosthetist will see a very limited number of upper limb patients, one or two a year at the most. It also means they spend most of their time learning about new technologies that are for lower limb patients: new knees, better ankles, how to help people balance better. While feet are complicated — hands are even more so.
Arm Dynamics is the most experienced upper limb prosthetic care provider in the world. Over the past 20 years, we have worked with thousands of people who have faced upper limb loss or those with a congenital limb difference, and we currently see hundreds of those patients each year at our Centers of Excellence. Because we only work with upper limb amputees, we have specific experience and insight that general prosthetic providers lack.
But you don’t have to take our word for it. Here’s what one of our patients, Angel Giuffria, had to say:
“It’s funny because I posted on Facebook the other day that I was driving six hours to go see my prosthetist, and someone said, ‘Oh, is that the only place your insurance company will cover?’ and I said ‘No, I go here because they’re upper limb specialists, and they’re the only people that I feel comfortable working with after having a lot of experience with other prosthetic offices.’ When you want the best, the best is not always in your backyard.” -From Angel’s Patient Profile Video
So why is Angel willing to drive six hours to see us?
Beyond specializing exclusively in upper limb prosthetics, we also have physical and occupational therapists that work full-time in each of our offices. These in-house therapists work with the prosthetist and the patient throughout the entire process. Having both the prosthetist and therapist in-house streamlines the patient’s experience by eliminating the time and trouble of multiple appointments at different locations for adjustments, therapy, and training. Our fully integrated treatment plan allows our patients to get comfortable with their devices sooner by learning to use them naturally and thoroughly and helps them achieve better outcomes in a shorter period of time.
Our care model is more comprehensive than the “standard” in other ways as well:
- Our silicone sockets are custom rolled. This adds comfort and aids in both suspension and control of the prosthetic device.
- We provide expedited fitting for every patient as standard procedure, which sees most patients fit with a functional prosthetic device, and trained in its use, in a span of three to five days (sometimes longer for more complex cases).
- We focus holistically on each patient, providing them with any psychological and peer support they may need.
In addition, we understand that when coming from a different city, state, or even country, you may need help with discovering the best places to stay near the Arm Dynamics center you choose, and need to know about what transportation options are available. We are happy to help with that planning and can oftentimes recommend a hotel that may be able to provide our patients with a discount. We have purposely built our Centers near airports, hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment to make our patient’s stay more comfortable — not to mention any family you may bring with you! Our patient care coordinators help patients and their families find things that are of interest to them to do in the community when they visit.
Okay, fine, you might be saying. You’ve convinced me that I may need to expand my search for an upper limb specialist. But what about down the line, if I need an upgrade, or a replacement, or more therapy? Great question! With our experienced follow-up care, we may be able to offer you all of those options via video consultations or by partnering with a local care provider in your area.
We asked Diane, one of our insurance authorization specialists, about why she thinks traveling for upper limb prosthetic care is worth it. Her answer: “If you’ve only ever worn uncomfortable shoes, you might not know that shoes are supposed to actually feel comfortable. Same for prosthetic devices.” If you have a current prosthetic device and you find that it’s awkward, or ill-fitting, or that you just don’t wear it much; or you feel that your current prosthetist just doesn’t listen to your needs — try reaching out to Arm Dynamics and discovering what “comfortable shoes” feel like. Our care model and focused specialty can make sure your prosthetic device is one you enjoy wearing. Contact us to learn more about the Arm Dynamics difference!
*Source for statistic above about percentage of upper limb amputations: page 35 of InMotion Magazine, Volume 21, Issue 5.