Rising Tides Lift All Boats

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By Andrea Spridgen

For many, the end of the year is a time to reflect on the joys and challenges of the previous months and pause to celebrate the triumphs and assess the trials that we've experienced. With that in mind, this issue of The O&P EDGE provides an opportunity to reflect on how individuals can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to regain independence after devastating illness and multiple limb loss, appreciate the unique skills O&P providers employ to assist them in their rehabilitation, and finally, on the impact of healthcare policy changes.

"The New Normal: Meeting the Challenge of Multiple Limb Loss" introduces us to two survivors of severe illnesses that resulted in quadrilateral amputations and their determination not to let their amputations define their lives. As medical technology improves, more people are surviving infections such as meningococcal septicaemia and necrotizing fasciitis, but often with multiple limb loss. To help providers meet the unique challenges they face in assisting these patients in their rehabilitation, the article also provides tips about considerations in prosthetic selection, the importance of peer visits, and some creative approaches to donning and doffing prostheses from experts who have many years of experience treating individuals with multiple limb loss.

Mobility impairments associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) also present their own challenge for practitioners due to the progressive nature of the disease and the complex nature of presentations. "Will Rising Tides Improve Outcomes in Multiple Sclerosis Patients?" reviews the potential for two modalities originally developed to assist patients with paraplegia and post-stroke conditions to be used to improve or maintain mobility in people with MS.

In our third feature, "Healthcare Issues Take Center Stage in Congress," Peter W. Thomas and his colleagues examine current healthcare policy issues, particularly surrounding efforts to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act, as well as specific legislation that may impact O&P care.

In closing this final column of 2017, I would like to thank you all for reading and for sharing your comments and experiences with us. And I wish you a happy, healthy, holiday season, and a joyous new year.

Happy reading.