How to Find a Prosthetic Provider
Finding a prosthetic provider–a professional who creates artificial limbs or orthopedic braces–may seem like a daunting and stressful task. Not only do prosthetic providers create, fit and help patients manage their artificial limbs, but they also will continue to see the patients who wear their devices for the patient’s lifetime–continuing to manage, adjust and replace prosthetics as necessary. Finding a provider, though, is a relatively simple process. Using resources like the health professionals who help you with your rehabilitation as well as organizations representing prosthetic providers will make the process easy.
Ask your surgeon, rehabilitation doctor or physical therapist for a recommendation. It’s best to start searching for a prosthetic provider through the care team who initially helped you. The surgeons, nurses, rehabilitation doctors and physical therapists who help you not only are in your geographical area, but they have a deep, insider’s knowledge of the providers who create and manage prosthetic devices. Ask members of your care team for a list of providers, as well as possible questions to ask once you identify potential providers. Because this provider will be one you see for the rest of your life, you’ll want to do a thorough search and interview with potential providers.
Use resources developed by advocacy groups for patients who need prosthetics. Patient groups who represent people using prosthetics usually offer resources to help find services or providers. One such group, the Amputee Coalition of America, maintains directories of providers and services in addition to networks of support groups. Contact the coalition or visit its website (link in Resources) to find prosthetic providers.
Search resources developed by the professional organizations that represent prosthetic providers. There are a number of organizations that represent the professionals who create prosthetics and orthotics, as well as the clinics that treat patients with prosthetic needs and the companies who make prosthetics. The American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists maintains a list of links to state chapters; contact your state chapter of the AAOP to find local providers. The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association and the Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics also maintain online search tools to help find prosthetic providers and the clinics where they work (links in Resources).