The COVID-19 pandemic is a growing global concern unlike anything that’s ever been seen. In response to this uncertain and unprecedented event, people are encouraged to slow the spread of the virus by practicing social distancing.
The effects of this new practice are everywhere: Shops and businesses are closed, kids now “attend” school via virtual classrooms and more people are working from home. The health-care industry also is affected, with hospitals deferring elective medical procedures to free up more space and resources – gowns, masks, gloves and even ventilators – for front-line personnel working with patients infected with the coronavirus.
We commend these efforts to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus. At the same time, we also recognize the unusual challenges these efforts impose. For example, where does it leave the person staying at home with chronic pain – pain that, while not life-threatening, threatens their quality-of-life and may even limit their ability to participate in everyday activities? Where does it leave individuals who had been fully committed to their recovery from a surgery, injury or illness and relying on support from a physical therapist to guide their healing journey? Without being able to attend their sessions, are plateaus or setbacks inevitable?
These issues are tough – but so are we. PhysioFit Physical Therapy and Wellness, my physical therapy and wellness clinic, is making changes to support and serve our community.
It’s important that people practice social distancing these days, especially those 65 and older, who make up a large portion of the people who benefit from physical therapy. But social distancing doesn’t mean you have to suffer and “just get by” until it’s safe to resume your normal appointments.
While some PT clinics choose to remain open right now, our team at PhysioFit is committed to doing our part to slow the spread of the virus and protect our neighbors, loved ones and first-line medical providers.
We also want to continue helping patients thrive. Like some other rehab clinics, we now offer a safer solution for people needing access to pain management and therapeutic fitness. Thanks to innovative video conferencing platforms like Zoom, telehealth physical therapy, also known as Video Visits, is now available. Video Visits allow patients to continue their plan of care with their physical therapist virtually, right from the comfort, privacy and safety of their own homes.
At first, some clients were skeptical that Video Visits would work – we get that. We use hands-on manual therapy a lot in our practice, and you simply can’t do that over the internet.
But being able to see people in their own environment doing everyday things that may be a struggle because of pain actually gives clinicians valuable insight. It gives us a way to provide real-time, meaningful and lasting feedback with interventions that can improve function and quality of life. The majority of people who have tried a virtual Video Visit are pleasantly surprised at how much it actually helps.
Video Visits with your physical therapist promote continuation of care so that you can reduce the risk of regression or plateau – or better yet, continue to make progress until you can get back to the clinic. We also offer a variety of virtual fitness classes to help keep you stronger, fitter and healthier – no gym necessary.
If you’ve lost access to in-person treatment for your health condition, take advantage of a clinic with telehealth therapy. PhysioFit is accepting new telehealth patients. Do your part to stay home and flatten the curve of the coronavirus and use an option to keep yourself healthy while doing so.
Kim Gladfelter is owner, physical therapist and Pilates instructor at PhysioFit Physical Therapy and Wellness, 1000 Fremont Ave., Suite 108, Los Altos. For more information, call 887-6046 or visit physiofitpt.com.