Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Despite occupational therapy’s critical role on the rehabilitation team for individuals with upper limb loss or difference (ULL/D) and prosthetics, this population is not extensively covered in many occupational therapy (OT) program curricula. As such, many clinicians work with patients with ULL/D with little expertise or confidence for this complex population. The aim of this study was to evaluate the OT practitioner experience and practice related to ULL/D and prosthetics in their education and practice. Utilizing snowball sampling, 150 OT practitioners completed a 24-question survey, which assessed OT practitioners’ experience with ULL/D, the prosthetic education in their OT program, and their confidence in working with this population. Participants reported they had limited education on this population and would have liked to have more education in school, specifically in the form of active learning opportunities such as hands-on experience with prosthetic devices, observations with clinicians, and discussions with individuals with ULL/D. Recommendations for OT programs include additional active learning opportunities including patient educators and prosthetic simulators, observation opportunities for students interested in working with this population, and continuing education opportunities for OT practitioners after graduation.


Amanda Sugar, OTD, OTR/L is a recent graduate of Rush University in Chicago, at the time of this study. Dr. Sugar is actively completing her doctoral capstone project on occupational therapy's role in the care of individuals with upper limb loss/difference and finding the gaps in occupational therapy curricula related to this population.

Rebecca Ozelie, DHS, OTR/L is the Chair and Program Director, an Associate Professor and the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at Rush University in Chicago, IL at the time of this study. Dr. Ozelie is actively involved in research and teaching with a focus on physical disabilities, fieldwork and occupational therapy education.

Kristi Turner, DHS, OTR/L is a research occupational therapist in the Center for Bionic Medicine at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Dr. Turner specializes in research and treatment of individuals with upper limb loss/difference

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.