How can the Academy help?
Ottobock UK have a team of field based staff who are dedicated to managing the Ottobock product training needs of our UK customers. Known as ‘academy clinicians,’ these highly skilled individuals are experts within the Prosthetics industry. Rigorous training of our own staff, on our own products, ensures our customers receive the very best, most advanced training on what can be very complex and technical products.
The academy team offer training on our entire product portfolio. This includes lower limb prosthetics, upper limb prosthetics, equipment, machinery and materials used in the production and manufacture of all types of prosthetic devices. In addition to this, we also advise and train on all clinical patient assessment techniques relating to our products. The training that the academy team can offer is not restricted to prosthetists; in fact it is extended out to the full multi-disciplinary team and includes consultants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and also to technicians involved in the manufacture and repair of prostheses.
In addition to proactively training clinicians on the Ottobock product line, the academy team also provide advice and support to clinicians on a reactive basis to provide additional support. Mentoring clinicians until they are comfortable to fit our products independently is a large part of the support we routinely offer our customers.
Training can be carried out on a one to one basis or as a group, and is often delivered locally at the clinician’s hospital in conjunction with their patient. In other cases, we regularly run regional seminars where clinicians can attend a whole range of training courses to develop their skillset and improve their product knowledge. In addition to this, Ottobock recognise that clinical time is valuable and in response to this, we offer a number of training courses online in an E-Learning format. This allows clinicians to train in their own time, on their own terms, without having to give up valuable patient facing time.
Alan Gordon - Prosthetist
I have been with Ottobock for two years and as a member of the Academy I support and train clinicians around the country in fitting Ottobock prostheses and componentry.
I graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2009 with a BSc. Hons. degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics. This has enabled me to follow my interest into Prosthetics. I initially began working in Oxford Centre for Enablement later moved to Bristol Centre for Enablement. During my time in Bristol I developed my career by taking on the role of Clinical Lead. Where I had the opportunity to support colleagues and students during this time and provide CAD training for the company which gave me a sense of the role and importance of education.
In both these Prosthetics clinics I had exposure to a wide variety of patients treating lower and upper limb. Improving my knowledge and understanding of socket technologies. In 2013, Bristol was nominated by the government as a Murrison centre, as a result veterans were able to transfer from DMRC Headley Court. This allowed me to work with patients who had suffered complex trauma and often multiple limb loss already with specialist interventions. The aim to achieve physical independence at the highest level possible and it was from there I really became interested in the advanced componentry including mechatronic knees. It allowed me to see the benefit of advanced componentry and the capabilities it has to allow people to return to a high level of functionality.
With the NHS MPK funding in 2016, this provided a turning point in Prosthetics. Now more people than ever with the UK can access this advanced technology. Prior to working for Ottobock I’d fitted many MPKs including X3s, Geniums and C-leg’s on the NHS MPK policy. Which was a great opportunity to see the benefits these knees can make to patients quality of lives.
Within my role now I get to meet more people who are trying MPKs for the first time. Providing education and assistance to the Prosthetists to achieve a positive outcome. As I travel around the country we continue to hear great stories of how the C-leg 4 is changing their lives. Within a short period of time trying the C-leg 4 it is amazing to hear how patients are feeling more confident and able to face stairs, slopes and terrain like never before.
Reduction of stumbles and improving confidence is one of the key benefits of the C-leg 4. The C-leg 4 already has inherent stability in that the stance resistance is active as default however in the swing phase the developers came up with a ingeniously simple solution. As stumbles take milliseconds to occur having a sensor to monitor for this and respond leads to delay. Instead the C-leg 4 has stumble recover active on every step, so no reaction time. Once the knee reaches its optimal swing flexion angle and begins to extend, instead of reducing, the flexion resistance increases. If someone stumbles it is there for them and in turn the extension valve opens reducing the resistance and allowing them to get out of the compromised position.
Scott Kilby - Prosthetist
I graduated from the University of Salford in 2002 and have since worked in the industry as a prosthetist. My career started at the North Midlands Limb Fitting Centre in Stoke, where I worked for almost five years, and gained a broad range of experience in lower-limb prosthetics.
In 2007, I moved to the Specialised Rehabilitation Centre at NGH, Sheffield, where I further developed my clinical lower-limb experience and I had the opportunity to develop my upper-limb skills. I continued to develop through my role as Assistant Centre Manager, which I held for a number of years.
In 2014-15 my career took a turn in a different direction, one which I had been working toward for some years and I began my journey into training and education. Working most recently for Blatchford, where I developed a keen interest and understanding of mechatronic systems and socket technologies.
Since joining Ottobock, I’ve been visiting clinicians across the country to support them with the range of Ottobock’s products and to assist with patient fittings. I have also attended and presented at seminars and events.
One of my main activities in the last few months has been assisting colleagues in fitting of the C-Leg 4. I think out of the key features of C-Leg 4, it is its intuitive stance that is the most impressive, as it gives the wearer the ability to stand using minimal energy with a flexed knee, and prevents the knee from bending with a True Lock to flexion. It means they can distribute their weight evenly between both legs and therefore relieve socket pressures, compensations, wear and tear on the contralateral limb and proximal joints.
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The Academy blog
OneFit trial process
Ottobock’s revolutionary OneFit system for fitting microprocessor knees through the NHS has benefited hundreds of amputees since its launch in 2016. For those who might be unfamiliar with the system, we’ve called in our Academy Clinician Alan Gordon to tell you more.
Tell us a bit about OneFit?
We introduced OneFit a couple of years ago when the NHS microprocessor knee policy was launched, in an effort to make the fitting process easier and more efficient for patients.
The OneFit trial aims to reduce the number of clinical appointments a patient would need, and shortens the time between the trial and the patient receiving a final prosthesis. For the trial, a patient receives a new C-Leg 4 and foot and, once the trial is a success, they stay on that C-Leg and foot instead of having a new limb ordered.
This means there’s no interim period where the patient has to return to their original limb, reducing any potential safety risk.
The normal loaner process is still available and when trialling multiple MPKs we suggest that this allows the best option.
Based on the feedback we have had from patients and clinicians around the country, we are in the process of updating the trial process, known as OneFit Select. This will allow improved customisation to provide the optimal solution for the patients’ needs both functionally and cosmetically. OneFit Select allows bolt-ons to be added, including feet, hips, protectors and the functional cosmesis, which can really enhance overall outcomes for patients.
What are the main benefits of OneFit to the patient?
The C-leg 4 allows patients to develop confidence and reliance on a prosthesis. After the four-week trial period it can often be challenging to return to their mechanical knee. The OneFit trial process removes the safety risk that this may pose. The patient keeps the C-leg 4 following the successful trial. Now with OneFit Select, the patient can also choose the cosmetic finish of their C-Leg 4.
Since starting OneFit, what are the biggest differences you’ve seen in patient outcomes?
We have certainly seen some amazing outcomes from patients after using the C-Leg 4 through OneFit. Within the four-week trial it has significant benefits to patients’ quality of life, and they have reported significant reduction in falls, increased confidence and reliance on the prosthesis. This has made a difference to hundreds of individuals who received funding from the NHS MPK policy in England and Scotland, allowing them to return to employment or hobbies. We hope the enhanced OneFit Select process will continue to provide these great outcomes.