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Practice Analysis of ABC Certified Assistants in the Disciplines of Orthotics and Prosthetics

January 2012


Results Related to the Knowledge and Skills Statements

Knowledge and skills were rated using the following scales.

  • Point of Acquisition: At what point should this knowledge or skill be acquired by an orthotic/ prosthetic assistant?
  • Criticality: How critical is the knowledge or skill to optimizing outcomes for patients and/or caregivers?

Respondents were asked when they thought the knowledge or skill should be acquired. Of the respondents, 94% thought General musculoskeletal anatomy, including upper limb, lower limb, spinal and Anatomical landmarks (surface anatomy) should be acquired before certification. There were a number of knowledge and skills statements that less than 50% of respondents reported as needing to be acquired by the time of certification. In all cases, respondents did not rate these as not necessary; rather, they felt they should be acquired primarily after certification.

Table 17

Knowledge and Skill Statements
Knowledge Statements
General musculoskeletal anatomy, including upper limb, lower limb, spinal
Basic neuroanatomy (e.g., major peripheral nerves of the upper and lower extremities)
Anatomical landmarks (surface anatomy)
Anatomical planes, planes of motion, and normal joint range of motion
Normal human locomotion
Gait deviations
Tissue characteristics/management
Volumetric control (e.g., edema, weight gain/loss)
Biomechanics (e.g., actions of lever arms, application of force system)
Pathologies, including cause and progression (e.g., orthopedic, neurologic, vascular)
Medical terminology
Referral documents
Documentation techniques
Policies and procedures regarding protected healthcare information
Reimbursement protocols (e.g., CMS, Medicaid)
Material safety procedures and standards (e.g., OSHA, MSDS)
Universal precautions, including sterile techniques and infection control
Ethical standards regarding proper patient management, including ABC Code of Professional
Scopes of practice related to orthotic/prosthetic credentials
Boundaries of the orthotic/prosthetic assistant scope of practice
Orthotic/prosthetic design
Orthotic/prosthetic fitting criteria
Orthotic/prosthetic fabrication
Clinical examination techniques
Impression-taking techniques, materials, devices and equipment
Rectification/modification procedures as they relate to specific orthotic/prosthetic designs
Measurement tools and techniques
Orthotic/prosthetic forms (e.g., assessment, orthometry, measurement, evaluation, outcomes)
Materials science
Alignment devices and techniques
Hand and power tools
Care and maintenance of orthoses/prostheses
Computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM)
Item warranty and warranty limitations
Loss control (e.g., risk management, inventory control)
Research and literature
Human development and aging, ranging from pediatric to geriatric, as they relate to orthotic and prosthetic treatment
The psychology of the disabled
Patient educational materials
Federal and state rules, regulations and guidelines (e.g., FDA, ADA, HIPAA)
ABC Facility Accreditation Standards
Skill Statements
Communicating with patient/family/caregiver
Communicating with orthotists/prosthetists and other staff
Identifying gross surface anatomy
Interpretation of physical findings (e.g., recognizing skin pressures, dermatological conditions)
Identifying normal and pathological gait/motion
Impression-taking/measuring for orthoses/prostheses
Use of mechanical measuring devices
Use of electronic measuring devices
Use of computer-based measuring devices
Patient delineation, rectification and/or patient model modification
Orthotic/prosthetic fabrication
Use of safety equipment
Use of hand and power tools
Use of materials and components
Use of alignment devices
Aesthetic finishing
Evaluating fit and function of an orthosis/prosthesis
Adjusting and modifying orthoses/prostheses
Maintaining and repairing orthoses/prostheses