Frequently Asked Questions
Prosthetics and orthotics can be confusing and overwhelming. Evergreen has provided this FAQ page to help answer your pressing questions, inform you of helpful tips and reduce your stress throughout treatment.
Caring for your Prosthetic:
A prosthesis is an artificial replacement for a missing limb or part of a limb. Although a prosthesis may not be as natural as your own limb, it can help you with many things after learning how to use it. The most important aspect of success involves a collaboration with your team of doctors, prosthetist and therapists. That way, we can address all of your concerns and help you accomplish your goals!
Depending on the level of your amputation, physical ability and functional needs, each prosthesis will be somewhat different. If you desire a “cosmetic look,” a cosmetic covering can be applied. But for most standard prostheses, they are comprised of conventional component parts attached to a socket that fits over your residual limb. Because Evergreen customizes each prosthesis, we are able to make your device exactly how you desire.
The majority of people who lose a limb can get back to a normal mode of functioning within a few weeks to several months, depending on the location of the amputation as well as physical ability. How well your prosthesis functions depends primarily on your individual goals along with a comfortable prosthetic fitting, good follow-up care and a positive attitude.
Follow-up is as important as the initial fitting! You will see your prosthetist regularly for adjustments as well as training with a physical therapist. They can help you ease pressure areas, adjust alignment, work out any problems and regain the skills you need to adapt to life after limb loss. Tell your practitioner if your prosthesis is uncomfortable, too loose or too tight. Ask questions about things you need or want to do. The more you communicate with your prosthetist and therapist, the better you will be able to succeed with a prosthesis.
Depending on your age, activity level and growth, the prosthesis can last anywhere from several months to several years. In the early stages after limb loss, many changes occur in the residual limb that can lead to shrinking of the limb. This may require socket changes, the addition of liners, or even a different device. Later on, increased activity level and desire for additional function can necessitate a change in the prosthesis or its parts. Once you are comfortably adjusted and functioning at the desired level of activity, the prosthesis may only need minor repairs or maintenance.
Learning to use a prosthesis takes time, effort, strength, patience and perseverance. We recommend you work with a therapist while learning how to handle the new device. Much like learning how to operate a car, you will need guidance on caring for your prosthesis, putting on and off the prosthesis, walking on different types of surfaces, handling emergencies safely and performing daily activities at home, work and in the car.
There is a lot you can and must do to be able to use a prosthesis and use it well. The top priorities are; working through emotions involved with limb loss, exercising to build the muscles needed for balance and ambulation, preparing and taking care of your residual limb to attain a proper, sound shape for the prosthesis and finally, learning proper body positioning and strengthening to maintain tone and prevent muscle contractures.
Some people rely exclusively on mobility devices before obtaining a prosthesis. However, with a prosthesis, the use of crutches or a wheelchair depends on several factors including level of amputation, whether you have a single or bilateral amputation and your respective level of balance and strength. Most amputees have a pair of crutches for times when the limb is not being worn, including night time trips to the bathroom, showering, participating in sports and to help if problems arise that may require leaving the prosthesis off for any length of time. If you are a person who has lost both legs you may want to use a wheelchair some of the time. Unilateral amputees may find it helpful to use a cane or crutches for balance and support in the early stages of walking or just to have a break from the prosthesis. This is an individual decision based on factors such as age, balance, strength and sense of security.
Plan on making follow-up visits to your prosthetist a normal part of your life. Proper fit of the socket and good alignment will insure that the prosthesis is useful to you. Prostheses, like cars, need regular maintenance and repair to continue efficient functioning. Small adjustments can make a big difference.
Yes, things can happen that will require repair or replacement. Be sure to get small problems with your prosthesis taken care of promptly. There is no benefit to waiting until something falls apart or causes you serious skin breakdown. If you wear a prosthesis too long when it needs repairs or replacement, you can do harm, not only to your residual limb, but also to other parts of your body. Strain on other muscles, especially in your back and shoulders, will affect posture in addition to performance of the device and energy needed to use it. Early prevention is more valuable than long-term treatment.
When you receive your device the practitioner will discuss the care of your device and any other questions throughout the entire process.
Every patient has a unique situation and therefore adjustment schedules will be decided between you and your practitioner.
Insurance & Billing:
Our specialists in the billing department will contact your insurance provider to determine how your policy will cover your new orthotic or prosthetic device. The office assistant will notify you of your portion due prior to the delivery of your item. It is important to remember that nothing is ever a guarantee, therefore you may be responsible for a portion of the services received from Evergreen. Each insurance policy is different. We will assist you in receiving the maximum benefits possible and upon your request, we can assist you in submitting your claims. The final responsibility for payment remains with you. We encourage you to ask to speak with one of our specialists if you have additional questions.
Evergreen Prosthetics and Orthotics accepts almost every HMO, PPO and other commercial insurance companies that provide coverage in Oregon and Washington. In addition, we are a provider for Medicare and Medicaid. If you do not see your insurance policy on our list of providers please contact one of our offices for additional assistance.
Yes, we accept Medicaid. Please let the patient care coordinator know that you have Medicaid when calling to schedule your appointment. On your initial visit, please be sure to have your current Medicaid card with you. Please note prior approval may be needed for some devices and may therefore affect the timeliness of your care. Please feel free to contact any of our offices with questions or concerns regarding Medicaid, its processes and procedures.
You can contact the Evergreen clinic where you were seen or you can call the Evergreen Corporate Office at 503.242.9136 for assistance.
Working with Evergreen:
After the initial evaluation, your practitioner will establish the treatment plan and what type of prostheses/orthoses is best suited for your needs. The fabrication of this device may require impressions, castings, measurements and moldings. On average, most orthotic devices will take two to three weeks to be completed. However, prosthetics can take longer, due to the customization process of our practice. It’s best to consult your practitioner at your initial visit to determine the amount of time needed to make and deliver your device.
For your initial appointment, we ask that you arrive 10 to 15 minutes prior in order to allow for the necessary paper work to be completed. At your appointment you will need to have a photo id, your insurance card and your prescription or referral. If you have Medicare or Medicaid, please be sure to have a current copy of your card with you. You can find these forms on our Resources page.
Yes! Evergreen is one company with multiple locations. We encourage you to contact the office that is most convenient for you.