Physical therapists are always working to optimize our patients’ ability to move and improve their health. With the restrictions created by the global COVID-19 pandemic, this year we had to get creative. Telehealth was the answer to this problem.
Telehealth allowed our physical therapists to seamlessly transition to delivering care online. We quickly learned how to work with our patients to make the best of their space at home while keeping therapy safe and fun.
This included creative positioning of their electronic device so that we could truly assess how they move and give cues to improve and correct their positioning and symptoms. Therapists were resourceful and teamed up with patients to find household objects that became part of the therapy session; cans of soup and jugs of water became dumbbells. Pillows and couch cushions became unstable surfaces to challenge balance.
We made use of sports equipment they had at home to keep them sharp and ready to go when sports resumed. We were able to see where our patients were working on their homework and help with a better set up of their desk to improve their posture. We were even introduced to many of our patients’ pets and families when they made cameos!
As we worked on adapting to the new normal, we went through many changes to provide a safe environment for when patients come back to our clinics. However, we will continue to offer telehealth as an option for patients. This allows us to provide expert care to those who may not yet feel ready to come to a clinic.
We are better equipped to deliver care to those who have challenges attending therapy in person. Patients who lack transportation can now use telehealth to receive care from their physical therapist. Families that live in rural areas, hours away from the expertise we offer can now receive the help of one our therapists without a long drive. While this year has provided countless challenges, telehealth has been one solution that has greatly enhanced the care we provide.
David Wessells, PT, MHA, has served as the program manager of Sports and Orthopedic Therapies at Nationwide Children's Hospital since February 2013. David is passionate about supporting his team with resources and removing barriers so they can deliver expert care for the pediatric athlete. He is proud to work for an organization that is a leader in evidence-based practice and research to produce the best outcomes for kids in Ohio.
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