Prosthetic/Orthotic Department at Newington Children's Hospital

ROBERT LIN, CPO


Newington Children's Hospital is a 95 bed pediatric facility with a strong emphasis on orthopedics and rehabilitation. Thirty outpatient clinics are held each month with most being diagnosis-specific and the remaining few categorized by general anatomical distribution. The hospital has had an internal prosthetic/orthotic department for over 50 years, and is still the only institutionally based prosthetic/orthotic practice in the state of Connecticut. The department has grown from a one-man operation to a combined staff of 50 practitioners, technicians, and administrative staff. Included are two orthotic residents and one prosthetic resident who met the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics mandated one-year experiential requirements in a residency format emphasizing the didactic and practical continuation of prosthetics and orthotics education. Ours is the oldest residency program in the field.

Recent advances in orthotics and prosthetics have been widely publicized and adopted by many prosthetists and orthotists, including design and material variants of the ankle-foot orthosis; ischial containment above-knee sockets; energy-storing feet; tone-reducing designs in orthotics; myoelectric prostheses; and custom and adaptive seating systems. The formal research and development division of the department has helped keep us on the forefront of technological innovation.

The longstanding success of the department can be attributed to its dynamic nature and the resources available within the institution. Staff size enables each practitioner to engage in those peripheral activities which help promote professional growth, technological innovation, and continuing education. Resources, such as the Computerized Gait Analysis Laboratory, the Functional Electrical Stimulation program, and the Adaptive Equipment Center, all contribute to the comprehensive, dynamic nature of our clinical activities. The Gait Laboratory has helped us evaluate critically many new orthotic designs and materials while examining their effects on all parameters of gait, both kinetically and kinematically. This has been most effective in our deciding which innovations we implement in our daily practice and which we do not pursue.

The teaching hospital environment has been one that has enabled this department to grow to the point where we presently cover 34 outside institutions, in addition to our in-house activities, while treating every neuromuscular and musculoskeletal condition affecting patients from infancy through the geriatric years. The close ties between academic institutions and teaching hospitals will help improve the science of prosthetics and orthotics as well as enable us to disseminate knowledge.

Newington Children's Hospital, 181 East Cedar Street, Newington, CT 06111