AMSUS 2015

AMSUS 2015

Members of the BADER Consortium are in San Antonio, Tex., this week for the 2015 AMSUS Continuing Education meeting, where federal and military health professionals are discussing how healthcare is flexing to meet the changing needs of its patients. The conference features top leadership from the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Defense Health Agency and others talking about health and scientific issues under the theme, “The New Normal.” AMSUS is a non-profit organization for federal and international health professionals that helps advance healthcare knowledge and effectiveness among its members. It includes the uniformed services along with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. David Shulkin, Under Secretary of Health for the VA, will provide an update on the current and future state of the VA and also describe his vision for veterans’ healthcare. Medical and clinical operations, global health, and military health system updates are among the educational tracks. In addition, BADER Consortium is co-sponsoring the WARRIOR Symposium, a preliminary session that will be held from 1-5:30 p.m. today. The symposium will discuss rehabilitation needs for servicemembers and civilians following amputations or extremity trauma. WARRIOR stands for WARfighters Receiving Innovative Orthopedic Rehabilitation. The symposium is intended to offer a comprehensive look at the issue of orthopedic rehabilitation, from a military and civilian perspective. It will include a discussion of the findings of the Defense Health Board report issued earlier this year, which made recommendations for the sustainment and advancement of amputee care. Participants in the WARRIOR Symposium include Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, MD, director of the Defense Health Agency, discussing the “Roadmap for Change;” Maj. Gen. George Anderson,...
The New Normal

The New Normal

It’s great to see so many people on social media giving thanks on Veterans Day for the service and sacrifice of strangers and loved ones who served in the military for our protection.  And while those accolades are important, it’s also critical that we make sure these brave men and women have access to state-of-the-art technology and treatment to ensure they are reaching the highest level of function possible. Veterans with traumatic limb loss are learning what it means to return to their work and home lives following an amputation. But they aren’t altering their life goals or downgrading their plans – rather, they are relying on state-of-the-art technology and advancements in patient care to help them reach optimal clinical outcomes, whether it’s running again or attending to activities of daily living. They are veterans like Travis Mills, a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant and one of five Afghanistan war veterans to survive a quadruple amputation. There’s many words to describe him, but one of the most powerful ones is runner. Fitted with specially made running blades, Mills can now run more 1 1/2 miles. He plans to do a 5K. In a story for Runner’s World, he describes his first experience on the blades this way:  “I was so excited to get running, I broke one in half one of the first times I put them on. I drove two hours that same day to get it replaced. I wanted to keep at it.” Mills is an example of a veteran seeking the highest level of function possible – a goal that should be the norm for all people with limb loss. It’s this “new normal” that offers...
New fitness app available for lower limb prosthesis users

New fitness app available for lower limb prosthesis users

Getting the appropriate prosthesis is critical to help patients with a lower limb amputation improve their outcomes and return to an active lifestyle. But just as important is whether the user can make the most of what the prosthesis is able to do. Even when given instruction by a trained therapist, it can be hard to duplicate the activity independently. But a smartphone app created by prosthetics manufacturer Ottobock aims to help leg amputees improve their strength and mobility. Although it was developed by Ottobock, the exercise programs do not require specialized equipment and are not tied to a specific manufacturer. Otto Bock Healthcare is one of several industrial collaborators with BADER Consortium. Within the app there are 16 exercises separated into two different programs. One focuses on strength and endurance, demonstrating exercises that focus on the legs, stomach, back and arms while the user is not wearing the prosthesis. The second program emphasizes balance and coordination while wearing the prosthesis. Here, the exercises focus on simple sequences of movement to help users stand confidently and exert better control over their prostheses in their activities of daily living, whether that’s at work, at home or on the go. And there are three progessive levels of difficulty so you don’t have to worry about not being able to complete some of the tasks. The first level is intended for those who recently received a prosthesis while the third level is intended for use by those confident in using their prostheses. The app is available for iPad and iPhone users for free here or by visiting  iTunes by searching “Fitness for...
Boston Marathon Bombings – One Year Later

Boston Marathon Bombings – One Year Later

***** The Boston Marathon. For runners around the world, it represents the pinnacle of the sport. It’s a lifetime achievement to qualify and an honor to run the epic 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boyleston, past the screaming girls of Wellesley and the hills of Newton. One word can describe it: electrifying. Last year, however, the outcome of the day was nothing but terrifying, as homemade bombs exploded at the finish, killing three and wounding 264 others. In the 365 days that have followed, people have come together to support the victims and their families as they grip with tragic losses and lives forever changed. The Spaulding Rehabilitation Center, a BADER Consortium clinical rehabilitation site in the Boston area, has been at the forefront of helping people impacted by the tragedy resume lives that are as close to normal as possible. Since last year, they have cared for 33 survivors, including 15 amputees. This has long been the goal of BADER and the work is no less important in the civilian population than it is for our wounded warriors. While we would prefer never to see such tragedies again, this serves as a good reminder why this ongoing work is crucial. People will always be in need of solid research and technology to keep pace with a changing world and to maintain a high quality of life. Recently, Spaulding announced it has launched a 10-year study to better understand how to help people impacted by such traumatic events as bombings and mass casualties. From the Boston Herald: Doctors will look at physical health, mental health, employment, relationships and more. They will...
Running on research

Running on research

  ***** Imagine waking up one day and being somewhere other than where you’d thought you’d be. Now imagine waking up in this strange place and realizing it’s a room in a hospital. And you’ve lost your leg. From the hip down. That’s what happened to Army Sergeant Jay Fain in 2007, the day before a scheduled two-week  break from a tour in Iraq. Fain shared his story recently with oandp.com, an online site for orthotics and prosthetics information, because shortly after he lost his leg, Fain became an unlikely runner. You should read his story, which can be found here. After losing a leg at the hip, running is nearly impossible. But Fain was sent to BADER MTF Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC)/Center for the Intrepid (CFI) for rehab. At CFI, he learned how to walk on a mechanical hip joint, the Össur Total Knee® and a basic foot. He gait trained, attended Össur Amputee Running and Mobility Clinics hosted by the Challenged Athletes Foundation and relying on the latest research and expertise of certified prosthetist Bobby Latham, made sure his hip fit just right. Then, Fain found a knew knee, hip and foot: Össur POWER KNEE™, an Ottobock Helix hip joint and an Össur Re-Flex Rotate™ foot. After several rounds of trial and error, Fain was fitted a fixed hip joint, the Össur Total Knee 2100 and an Össur Flex-Run™ foot. Fain had some physical abilities that made his return to running remarkable, yet possible. But without the hard work of researchers, physical therapists, orthotists and prosthetists and others willing to put in the time to improving the quality of life for people...