Telehealth at Lifeline: Fact or Fiction

By Rachel Long, PT, DPT

  1. Telehealth is difficult to access- FICTION

We are currently using skype, facetime, and zoom which are easy platforms for patients to access using a smart phone, computer, or tablet.      

2. I will receive the same high level of care as in the clinic – FACT

Telehealth therapy allows you to receive the same expertise, care, and advice that you would in the clinic, but from the safety and comfort of your home.  You will be seen one-on-one by a respiratory therapist or physical therapist who will provide an evaluation, exercises and education.  Our ultimate goal is transition back into the clinic, if and when possible, for the added value of manual therapy and access to equipment. 

3. A therapist will not be able effectively diagnose and treat without touching the patient- FICTION

Although we do believe that hands on assessment and care will always be the gold standard, telehealth services allow us to bridge the gap during times when a patient cannot come into the office.  A physical or respiratory telehealth therapy session also gives the opportunity to observe a patient’s home set up and address any specific barriers or safety concerns.   During a telehealth visit, we evaluate functional movement patterns (such as setting up from a chair, walking, getting in and out of bed), functional range of motion, coordination, flexibility, balance, and muscular endurance, as well as administering special tests to aid in ruling in or out a diagnosis.  Physical Therapists are the movement experts!

4.  Telehealth therapy visits will save me time- FACT

We value your time and know that maintaining a balance in life is difficult, but it is important to remember to carve out time for your health.  Telehealth visits save you travel time and give you more flexibility in scheduling (your lunch break may now be the perfect time to fit a session in).

5. I don’t have any machines or equipment at home so telehealth won’t work for me- FICTION

Your body is your best piece of exercise equipment, and often the only thing you need during a therapy visit.  There are many household items that can be used as aids in working out.  For example, you can hold soup cans in place of hand weights.  A towel or long sheet can be used instead of a stretching strap.  A chair can be used to practice sit to stands (if a chair is too low, you can place blankets on the seat to make the exercise easier).  The possibilities are endless

The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have stopped much of the world. One thing that the virus has not stopped is pain and injury. Maybe you were seeing your PT when stay at home orders were issued. Maybe you’ve been having more pain and soreness in your back or neck because of all the time you’ve spent in front of the computer working at home, or maybe you hurt yourself over the weekend doing some yard work or exercising to relieve stress.  Maybe you notice you are having a hard time catching your breath just doing daily tasks.  Maybe a post-operative joint is getting stiff.  Telehealth (physical, cardiac and vestibular therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation) allows you to get the care you need without putting yourself or others at risk during this time of social distancing! Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

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