Over the past year, I have become aware of below-elbow prostheses at both ends of the price spectrum.
LN-4 Helper Arm Cost: Free
In 2012, I worked in Uganda with Olivia, a 10-year old who had lost both hands in a car accident. Below-elbow prostheses are not made in Uganda and a high-tech model would not be appropriate, both due to a lack of funds as well as the need for frequent repairs and adjustments as she grows older. On my return to Canada, I researched what options might be available for her. Amazingly, I discovered the Ellen Meadows Foundation. They will provide a ‘helper hand’, a rudimentary prosthesis called the LN-4, to anyone anywhere in the world who needs it and whose stump measures at least 14 cm. I organized for one to be delivered to her and, during my visit a year later, was delighted to see her using it for almost all activities. Feet, knees and teeth were all used to put it on independently!
This is Olivia in action!
You can take a look at how this basic device works at LN-4 Helper Hand.
Bebionic3 Cost: Very expensive.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I was directed to an unbelievably high-tech myoelectric hand, by Bebionic3,
that is more functional and versatile than I could ever have imagined possible.
Watch this video of the Bebionic3 in action!
You can see more on this device here Bebionic3.
I feel very encouraged to have learned that there are devices available to improve the quality of life for amputees, no matter where one lives and what one can afford.
Written by Joanne Smith, Certified Hand Therapist, Expert Physio at Burnaby Heights