Limb Loss Awareness with Jennifer McCarthy
April is Limb Loss Awareness Month; there are millions of Americans who have lost limbs to disease or injury, and it has changed the way they live their lives. While losing a toe, leg, arm, or other body part can be incredibly traumatic, amputees can regain some or all of their abilities with the use of well-crafted prosthetic limbs and a positive mental attitude.
We are a holistic healthcare company providing services for the workers’ comp industry. On occasion, our work involves tending to the needs of a worker who has lost a limb due to a work-related injury. LCI Workers’ Comp relies on us to provide scheduling of physical therapy, durable medical equipment, scheduling of diagnostics such as MRI, CT scans, etc. for our insureds. LCI’s Claims Manager Yvonne Rosen describes us as a “very reliable and good company.”
Jennifer McCarthy is the Clinical Review Manager for Amputee Claims and Prosthetics here at One Call. In her role, she works closely with prosthetists and injured workers to ensure the injured worker is receiving a prosthetic device that best fits their unique needs. She enjoys her work because she finds that it’s a perfect marriage of art and science, and it helps people who may experience a decrease in the quality of their life due to amputation find a new way to live. “I always knew I wanted to work in the medical field, but I wasn’t really sure what part of it. I met someone that did work in prosthetics, and, when showed me what they did, I was immediately intrigued by the work,” explained Jennifer. Soon after that introduction and enrolling in school for a prosthetics program, Jennifer’s grandfather suffered a motorcycle accident that caused him to have to amputate his leg. “My grandfather was riding his Harley Davidson across the country and ended up losing his leg. It was so ironic how something I had taken an interest in quickly became personal – his prosthesis is one of the first ones I ended up making.”
Jennifer found that outfitting amputees with proper prosthetic devices is a special field of medicine that requires much more than just knowledge about the replacement limbs. It requires passion, curiosity, and empathy – especially when handling prosthetic fittings.
In her role, Jennifer takes into consideration every aspect of the person’s life: if they’re an active person, if they have children, if they swim regularly, how big their home’s yard is, their job duties and tasks, etc. “I work with the prosthetist and the injured worker to get very specific — down to their health history, environmental history, social support, family mechanisms. Losing a limb is a traumatic thing. They say losing a limb is similar to losing a spouse. There’s a grieving process that you have to go through. Sometimes the psychosocial impact of limb loss is what is preventing a person from progressing. Understanding the challenges physically and mentally that the person is having is so important. It has to involve a team approach with the prosthetist in addition to other healthcare providers,” explained Jennifer.
Our mission is to create and deliver holistic patient-centric healthcare solutions that help get injured workers back to life and work. Jennifer expanded on that mission by sharing our new program, One Call® CarePath™ Amputation Pathway℠. “We look at their job description and the specific things that they were doing and try to identify if there are prosthetic components that would allow them to do exactly what they were doing before. Does that always happen? That depends on the specific level of their amputation, and it goes back to the person’s mental capacity, if they have the motivation to do that.” She recalled one amputee that she worked with, saying, “One guy was 26 years old with an amputation below his knee who only wore his prosthetic for four hours a day because it didn’t fit properly – and he had just accepted the fact that that’s where his life was. He was a young guy with two young kids, so we reached out to show him we could get him a prosthetic that fit his lifestyle that he could wear all day every day.”
The current state and future of prosthetics involves direct bone and nerve reinnervation and enhanced robotic features. Jennifer will surely be watching every single innovation in the industry so that she can further increase the quality of the prosthetics that she recommends for the injured workers that she works with. “We are focused on specific amputation pathways. Those pathways are going back to the specific amputation level, so if someone has a shoulder disarticulation, they have a specific pathway that will allow them to return to work and what sort of work that would be versus someone with a leg amputation,” she concluded.
Thank you to LCI for featuring us on their Business Blog.