The POLAR Unit (Prosthetic Orthotic Limb Absence Rehabilitation) at Mercy University Hospital is a partnership initiative with the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) providing specialist, interdisciplinary care that is outcome focused for persons with limb amputation or congenital limb loss. In keeping with national HSE policy, access, quality and cost-effectiveness are key elements of service delivery.
The POLAR programme is designed to assist people with limb loss as well as their family and carers to lessen the impacts of those impairments and to promote greater levels of functional independence, social participation, autonomy and integration.
The POLAR Unit links with the NRH in a hub and spoke model of national service delivery for complex specialised care. The NRH is a CARF (Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accredited organisation. The POLAR Unit also establishes and strengthens links with local Community services providing appropriate care to all with limb absence.
The POLAR programme is a consultant-led, therapy managed service provided on an outpatient basis for the Cork and Kerry regions. The Unit is interdisciplinary and offers physiotherapy, occupational therapy, prosthetic and orthotic provision, nursing and medical reviews.
Role of the POLAR Programme
The outpatient programme provides outpatient assessment and provision of prostheses, if appropriate, under the care of the multi-disciplinary team in an inter-disciplinary model of service delivery.
The Unit caters for provision of lower limb modular prostheses, conventional lower and upper limb prostheses, orthotic and specialist footwear, physiotherapy and occupational therapy and nurse-led education and wound management.
The POLAR unit at MUH provides:
• Comprehensive pre-amputation and post-amputation (pre-prosthetic)rehabilitation to offer patients optimum recovery of function.
• Joint rehabilitation sessions with a physiotherapist, occupational therapist and prosthetist if required.
• Interdisciplinary management of patients with limb loss.
• Education, self-management and specialist referral to address all vascular risk factors and prevention or postponement of a second amputation.
• Manufacture and fitting of prostheses and orthoses.
• Workshop for minor repair and adjustments.
• Education on prosthetic use by team.
• Information about support, advocacy and assistive technology resources.
• Life-long prosthetic management and follow up.
• Linkages with community and other stakeholders.
Location and Hours of Operation of POLAR Unit
The POLAR Unit is located in the main building of Mercy University Hospital and can be accessed by the entrance for people with disabilities in the Thomas Moore Block.
Presence at the Unit will be delivered initially over a three day week, mainly Monday to Wednesday with some weekly variation.
Format of POLAR Unit Clinics
Each patient receives a full assessment by each member of the interdisciplinary team to identify their medical, physical, vocational and social needs. Assessments will adhere to the bio-psycho-social model using the International Classification of Function, World Health Organisation (ICF, WHO 2000) framework. Primary patients will be assessed at a regular Combined Primary Assessment Clinic (CPAC) where a Predicted Activity Level (PAL) will be agreed in a team discussion. Individual goal setting is documented.
The most suitable prescription for each individual case is then prescribed.
A treatment program is then agreed as to how best to facilitate achieving the agreed goals. This interdisciplinary approach ensures each individual receives the most appropriate care.
Admission to the service is dependent on the following criteria. Patients must:
• Have an amputation or congenital limb loss or other pathology likely to benefit from the services provided.
• Be medically stable.
• Wish to avail of the service and engage with all aspects of active rehabilitation.
• Have the potential to benefit for the rehabilitation process.
• Be eligible for or have a prosthetic or orthotic prescription through the NRH.
The service is offered on an outpatient basis; however, should the need arise, then inpatient rehabilitation can be provided by the NRH.
Individual, profession-specific treatment will be offered including education, prosthetic advice, therapy provision, wound management and orthotic advice if required.
Expressions of interest are welcomed and may be made to the Unit directly.