The Promise of Telehealth Physical Therapy
By Mary Tolan
April 15, 2022
Despite the many challenges brought on by the global pandemic, COVID-19 also presented several new opportunities. The rapid advancements in healthcare technology are a prime example of how the pandemic acted as a beneficial catalyst. Aside from an escalated vaccine production process, personal healthcare options have also improved. The introduction of telehealth has drastically changed the look and feel of patient care.
From the initial onset to the height of the pandemic, healthcare providers searched for the best way to serve their patients. Understanding the need for both urgent care triage and chronic care solutions, doctors across multiple fields turned to virtual meeting software.
Through telephone and video communications, physicians and other healthcare experts met with new and existing patients to discuss a variety of health concerns. While there are challenges with providing a complete and accurate health diagnosis without a personal physical, telehealth connections allow patients to be seen by a doctor and remain up to date with important prescriptions and healthcare procedures.
Telehealth and Mental Health
Individuals suffering with depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses experienced a unique set of challenges throughout the pandemic. In addition to the general sense of insecurity and uncertainty, these individuals also had to deal with the possibility of not receiving timely treatment. Ongoing therapy, condition maintenance, and prescription availability is crucial for the proper treatment of mental health disorders.
Nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and other long-term care facilities were able to quickly pivot to group therapy options. Coupled with virtual appointments, this option enabled patients to receive treatment for new symptoms as well as ongoing care. The quick action taken solved the immediate need and also paved the way for the future of healthcare. Well beyond the pandemic restrictions, healthcare providers will continue offering remote care options through remote appointment offerings. Many patients have come to prefer this level of treatment due to the efficiency and convenience of telehealth options.
Telehealth and Physical Therapy
Although the provider options discussed so far have been especially helpful, there is one area of healthcare that is not often thought of in terms of telehealth. Physical and occupational therapy needs are an ongoing process that depend on consistently building on a solid foundation. Patients involved in a physical therapy routine before the pandemic were forced to delay or stop their routines altogether as firm restrictions were put into place worldwide.
Telehealth options are certainly available for those in need of physical therapy and allow them to be an integral part of their own successful treatment plan. Perhaps a few tools and resources, such as resistance bands or free weights, are required to get started. These necessary items can be delivered to the patient at home, where they can follow their recovery routine and continue getting stronger each day. The telehealth options for physical therapy are not only easily accessible for all patients, but they can also be personalized for their particular needs and the layout of their home or residence.
There is little doubt that the evolution of telehealth options will continue well beyond the pandemic. Healthcare professionals are able to simplify their administrative tasks and cut down on the patient waiting time. Patients find that these virtual appointments offer flexibility with their schedule and are a sustainable way to receive ongoing treatment for their new or existing conditions.