1. What is an Orthotist/Prosthetist?
The clinicians at NVOPS are orthotist/prosthetists and have extensive experience in clinical disciplines both areas.An Orthotist (pron: Ortho-tist) is an allied health professional and clinician who practices in public hospitals or the private sector.
The Orthotist's role is to assess, prescribe, apply and provide education regarding the use and care of an appropriate orthosis that serves the individual's requirements.
An orthosis is the true term for a brace or appliance that is designed and fitted to the body to achieve one or more of the following goals:
* Control biomechanical alignment
* Protect and support a healing injury
* Assist rehabilitation
* Reduce pain
* Increase mobility
* Increase independence
Commonly prescribed orthoses include;
* Foot Orthoses, for various foot problems
* Ankle and Knee Orthoses, for joint protection or support after surgery
* Fracture Orthoses, the modern alternative to plaster or fibreglass casts
* Spinal Orthoses, providing low back pain relief or helping control spinal deformities and injuries
There are a wide variety of prefabricated and custom made orthoses used for many musculo-skeletal problems. They are specialised devices should always be fitted by a fully qualified Orthotist.
A Prosthetist (pron: Pros-the-tist) is an allied health professional who is clinically responsible for assessing, manufacturing and fitting various types of upper and lower limb prostheses (artificial limbs). Prosthetists also provide education and training regarding the use, care and function of prostheses.
All limb prostheses are precision made appliances that are individually designed to restore the function and look of the lost limb as much as possible. Prosthetists assist clients such as children born with congenital limb deficiency, people who have had an amputation following an accident or the elderly who have lost a limb as a result of vascular disease.
Due to modern advances in prosthetic technology, prosthetists to supply lighter, stronger and more naturally functioning prostheses than ever before. Technological advances include the ‘energy storing foot', the ‘microprocessor controlled knee' and the myo-electric (bionic) hand.
Ref: AOPA website
2. Is a referral necessary to see an Orthotist/Prosthetist?
A GP or specialist referral is required if are covered for the complaint by;
* Department of Veteran’s Affairs
A referral can be helpful to claim through private health insurance.
Confirmation of disability will be required for those wishing to apply through the Statewide Equipment Program for orthoses, we can provide the appropriate form at your assessment.
* DVA footwear requires podiatry prescription
* Clients covered by TAC and Worksafe are responsible for costs if the insurer denies the claim
* Enable NSW requires specific referrals, ask your orthotist
3. Are orthotist/prothetists services covered by medicare?
Unfortunately it is not a service covered by medicare.
4. Will I be able to claim on my private health insurance for my orthotic/prosthetic management? Is HICAPS available?
Coverage for orthotic services requires extras/ancillaries cover. Not all funds provide coverage at all levels of extras. Some health funds provide limited cover for prosthetics. Please consult with your health fund directly. HICAPS is not available yet for orthotic/prosthetic services. Accounts are payable on provision of orthoses/prostheses. Detailed accounts are provided with copies of appropriate referrals for you to forward to your fund for reimbursement.5. I’m concerned about the costs involved. Is there any funding available?
Assistance is available for orthoses for clients with chronic illness/long term disabilities through the Statewide Equipment Program (SWEP) in Victoria and the Enable program in NSW. This doesn’t cover consultation charges, and a co-payment may be required, ask your orthotist.
For more information on SWEP available at www.swep.bhs.org.au
5. Are there similarities between podiatry and orthotics/prosthetics?
Both are allied health disciplines and both provides orthoses for foot problems to correct, prevent and accommodate abnormal structure and function of the lower limb. However orthotists assess, design, fabricate and fit orthoses for the entire body. Orthotists do not remove corns and callous, or do nail care.
We do work closely together with the use of podiatry footcare, orthoses and footwear. Cross referral is common.