Telehealth Beyond the Pandemic

With a national and worldwide pandemic being our reality, I am taking some time to think about ways to improve and grow in all aspects of my life . This, of course, is after I help my children with their schoolwork, perform my telehealth services, tend to every household need, make sure my kids have socialized via telephone or virtual means, etc.

There have been so many new changes in such a short period of time. I am sure we are all feeling the pressure of keeping up with these changes while still trying to maintain some form of normalcy. We are all experiencing so many emotions right now. At any point in the day we can feel overwhelmed, stressed, happy to have this extra time with our family, sad and isolated, and a myriad of other strong, and sometimes completely polar opposite, feelings. I need to find the positives and to continue to feel that I am of help to those in need. Switching to telehealth at this office has given me a new insight into the services that we provide as a facility.

I have been extremely happy with the quality of service that we have been able to provide in these trying times. It has been so nice to engage with the parents in their own environment and allow them to give the assistance while I guide them along. I would never choose to replace an in person visit with a physical therapist, however, I do think there may be extenuating circumstances that would make telehealth services a wonderful option for a patient. There are many that are immunocompromised, some parents that work and have time constraints, and some patients that live in remote areas that do not have access to a facility. 

Let’s think about our immunocompromised patients. I would love to be able to provide a weekly or twice weekly telehealth session to allow a safe and healthy environment while guiding the parents through a session. Some of my patients are brought into our facility by a caregiver such as a grandparent or sitter. Wouldn’t it be nice to offer the option of a telehealth session every week or two which would allow the parent to directly speak with the physical therapist and work with their child at home?

Finally, I would like to consider a patient that is in need of Schroth method services, a specialized scoliosis treatment.  Not many physical therapists carry this certification. I would love to be able to provide telehealth services to a patient that would otherwise not be able to access these services in person. In difficult times, I do feel it is important to find the positives and the silver linings. I do realize and hope that we will resume normal activity and life will go on as per usual. I would love nothing more than to be “routine” again and to treat our kids in this office with our hands and hearts. Until it is safe and in best practice, however, we will use our computers and hearts.