You evaluated and assessed your patient’s extremity, you observed their function, and you determined that they might benefit from wearing an orthosis. The orthotic fabrication process is complete.
What factors do you need to check to make sure your patient’s new orthosis fits well and feels comfortable? What does your patient need to know about this new orthosis?
Orthotic Completion Checklist
Before sending your client home with their orthosis, take the time to run through this checklist of important considerations:
1. Watch out for sharp edges.
Are the edges of the orthosis smooth and the corners rounded? Is any area digging into your patient’s skin and leaving red marks? You can smooth out any sharp edges by dipping the orthosis in hot water and rubbing the edges with your finger.
2. Confirm the fit of the straps.
Do the straps of the orthosis hold it in place snugly on the extremity? Can your patient easily tighten or loosen the straps as needed? Teach your patient how to correctly adjust the straps.
3. Check the stability of attachments and adhesive.
Are all the attachments firm and secure? Make sure that the adhesive holding the Velcro hooks in place and thermoplastic pieces that should stick together are adhering properly. You can use dry heat from the heat gun on both the thermoplastic material and the Velcro hook adhesive to help them bond.
4. Provide your patient with education.
Did you explain the purpose of the orthosis to your patient? Let them know how wearing it as directed will relieve their pain and improve their function. What outcomes do you, the treating clinician, expect for your patient? Your orthotic design may be intended to protect an injured wrist, alleviate pain from arthritis, or help support a weak muscle to allow for functional activity.
5. Provide a wearing schedule in writing.
Did you provide your patient with a wearing schedule in writing? Be sure to include instructions for taking care of the orthosis and precautions for any problems that might occur. Your written instructions should also include your contact information in case your patient finds that they need modifications to the orthosis.
6. Document receipt of orthosis and instructions.
Did you document that your patient received the orthosis and instructions? Have your patient sign this document to indicate that they received adequate instruction on their new orthosis. You can then place a copy of this document in your patient’s chart as a record of the intervention.
Increasing Patient Adherence
How can you increase the chances that your patient will follow through with their prescribed plan? Patients are more likely to wear their orthosis when:
- The orthosis fits comfortable and securely.
- They have a good understanding of the orthotic’s purpose and the appropriate wearing schedule.
- They know that they can contact you for modifications, if necessary.
Download your free checklist handout to keep on hand when you are setting your patients up with their new orthotics. Your patients will benefit from increased adherence and improved outcomes.