In March, we all retreated into our homes as the time of stay-at-home orders and quarantine began. If you’re like me, you thought, “Surely, this will all be over in a month. Everyone will do what’s in the best interest of others, and we’ll get through this – America always does!” Unfortunately, the post is being written nearly half a year later, and the virus doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. Our clinic responded quickly back in February to these threats and has continued to stay partially open to in-person visits throughout the pandemic. During the course of this post, I will attempt to explain what we’re doing to make in-person physical therapy as safe as possible, and why many should consider telehealth as a viable option to replace some in-person visits.
In the Clinic
Our clinic has been responding to CDC guidance over the past several months as we try to make it as safe as possible. No one that is sick is allowed to enter the clinic. Everyone must wear a mask while in the clinic in accordance with the Pima county ordinance and current scientific recommendations. No other family members are allowed to stay in the clinic unless it’s necessary for the patient. Staff are all wearing masks, washing their hands, and hand sanitizer is spread across the clinic. Surfaces are cleaned during the day and sanitation occurs at the end of the day when patients have left in accordance with CDC guidance. You can watch the video of our intake process for our patients by clicking HERE, which includes temperature and oxygen checks, both thought to be potential indicators of asymptomatic patients. You’ll be asked a few questions on your first visit to ensure your likelihood of having COVID-19 is low. If you have previously been diagnosed with COVID-19, and sufficient time has passed to ensure you are no longer able to spread the disease, you may be allowed to enter the clinic. Recommendations for post-COVID-19 treatment in physical therapy have been released and we will be following those. So far, this has not been something we’ve encountered.
As a clinic, we have been offering telehealth visits to our patients. These are visits that occur over the computer or a cell phone in which you can see and hear the physical therapist and exercises can be discussed. The process of a typical telehealth can be seen HERE on our telehealth page. The feedback from patients has been amazing and patients have been highly satisfied with these visits. You can see a patient testimonial video HERE or at the bottom of our telehealth page.
Okay, But How Effective is Telehealth?
It may be surprising, but telehealth actually appears to be just as effective as in-person physical therapy for diagnosing and treating many conditions. In 2018 a systematic review was published (you can view it HERE) that concluded telehealth is just as effective – and sometimes more effective—than in-person physical therapy. There are downsides, like not being able to do any hands-on treatment. However, there are upsides as well. A telehealth visit still allows for exercises to be provided, a home exercise program to be reviewed, or a plan for return to activity to be discussed. On top of all that, telehealth visits can be strategically used to view your home for things like your sleeping position in your bed, the size of your pillow, your desk set-up, tripping hazards, how you’re getting the laundry from your washer, and other things that would be impossible to do in the clinic.
The Motive is all about providing the best possible physical therapy experience to you and your loved one. We track our outcomes and aspire to be among the best in the country in “improvement per visit,” which we believe is a direct measure of value. This is our way of putting our money where our mouth is when we say we’re the Best Physical Therapy clinic in Tucson. Because of the high satisfaction patients have expressed with telehealth, our clinic will likely continue to offer telehealth into the future as an option to complement in-person physical therapy. Hopefully, we will continue to see this treatment provide value and be effective for the right person at the right time.
For those that would prefer in-person physical therapy, we got you! Call the number below to chat with us about your particular problem and find out how we can tailor a solution that works for you and your life.