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Choosing a bracing and support provider can be overwhelming. People are often faced with this choice while in a state of shock, grief, or serious illness. If this describes your situation, rest assured that you are not alone and that thousands of others have found their way through. Take a deep breath and remember: you will too.
It will be important to have a provider you can develop a good rapport with and that you truly believe has your best interests in mind. Open, direct communication is the center of a successful patient-orthotist relationship. Clearly, this relationship will be easier to build if your orthotic provider is located relatively close to where you live. Choosing your orthotist will most likely be one of the most important decisions you make. It is important that you interview several orthotist and decide, on your own, who will work best to get you back to living life to the fullest. Remember you have a choice of providers.
There is a lot to learn and to make it a little easier; here is a list of key considerations to keep in mind.
Below is a list of suggested questions to take with you when you visit an orthotist for the first time. The answers you receive to these questions will assist in deciding the right orthotist for you.• What are your credentials?• How long have you practiced in this area?• Why did you get into this line of work? • What types of continuing education are you required to complete? And why?• What has been your experience working with people with my condition/injury?• What type of orthosis would you recommend for me?• Why do you think this orthosis would work best for me?• With all of the orthotic developments out there will I be getting the most advanced technology available?• Can you show me an example of the type of orthosis you would provide for me?• How long will it take, from start to finish, for me to receive my orthosis?• How long will my appointments take?• Can members of my family attend appointments with me?• Can you explain in detail the process you will use to fit me?• How will the orthosis attach to my body?• What types of activities will I be able to do with the type of device you are proposing?• Will you accept my insurance and secure any necessary prior approvals for my care?• What type of warranty will you provide for my new orthosis?• How long will this device last before I need to have it replaced?• Will follow up visits cost me anything?• Can you put me in touch with a patient that you have fitted with the same type of device so that I may ask some questions?• Do you have anyone that I can talk to should I need emotional support?• If I were to have a sudden issue with my orthosis, how long would it take for me to be seen?• What do I do if I am out of town and need adjustments to my orthosis?
Orthotics is an art and a science. Orthotists possess a unique set of skills obtained through both education and experience. Always inquire about a clinician’s qualifications and experience, and ensure that they are certified or licensed. Just as physicians and physical therapists must stay up to date with continuing education, orthotists should also participate in on-going advanced training.
Some providers have programs that address specific levels of orthotic care. This means that whether you need leg brace, halo, or Hanger Cranial Band, clinicians that specialize in those unique disciplines manage your care.
From your first phone call to your latest adjustment, you want a provider who will lay a smooth path in front of you. Is there a support staff that will take charge of issues such as insurance authorization, filing claims, dealing with Medicare, or setting up financing or payment plans? Are there patient care representatives who advocate for you, answer your questions, and take the time to help with your concerns? Will you be given the opportunity to meet other orthotic users and learn about their experiences?
Sometimes people select an orthotic provider and then later decide the relationship is not what they had hoped for. If this is the case for you, think about what you’re looking for and then set out to find a different provider. Most orthotic clinics offer complimentary initial consultations. Although it’s not always easy to make a change, getting what you need and moving forward in your recovery is well worth the effort.Interested in a free evaluation? Call 1-877-4HANGER to find the closest Hanger Clinic location specializing in orthotic care.