It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. The team at Alpine Physical Therapy is proving this by offering a new way to see and help patients during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

During this time of uncertainty, while social distancing is paramount, the Alpine Physical Therapy team in Bend is now offering patients a “virtual” option that ensures both personal safety and continuity of treatment.

Known as telehealth visits, these online appointments allow patients to access physical therapy remotely, from the safety of their own homes. All you need is an internet connection and a computer, tablet or smartphone with a camera.

According to Rob Hollander, co-owner of Alpine Physical Therapy, this option ensures those experiencing pain, injury or awaiting an orthopedic surgery can directly access a physical therapist.

“Our priorities as a clinic lie in the continued health and safety of our community. Telehealth gives us a great option to provide continuity of care for patients who would prefer a remote visit or are in a higher risk category to COVID”  Hollander said. “Our therapists are able to perform movement analysis, track progress and instruct in home stretching/strength exercises”.

A telehealth appointment consists of a HIPPA protected video conference between the patient and their physical therapist.  Due to the COVID pandemic insurance companies have opened care across the spectrum from initial evaluations through completion of care. Treatments typically last about 30 min.

To prepare for one’s telehealth visit, Hollander makes the following suggestions for patients:

Find Ample, Quiet Space

Don’t just connect from the comfort of your armchair. Even while you’re at home, privacy is still important for your PT visit. Plus, you’ll need space to move. Depending on the nature of your visit, your physical therapist may ask for you to demonstrate or repeat movements and exercises.

Dress for a Physical Therapy Visit

Wear comfortable clothes you can move in and which allow the physical therapist to see and evaluable your movements. Workout clothes will likely work best.

Be Prepared to Share

As movement and exercise is the essence of physical therapy, be prepared to answer questions about your access to space and equipment in the home. Also, let the PT know if you have access to workout and rehab tools like mats, exercise bands, foam rollers, and so on.

Open Your Mind

If telehealth is new to you, be welcoming to the experience. While it won’t feel the same as a one-on-one visit, know that much thought and study has gone into ensuring the experience is effective. After an evaluation, the PT will tell you if he/she feels an in-person session is needed.

“With all the unknowns surrounding COVID-19 and the various ways it’s likely to continue affecting our lives, telehealth is a way we can ensure all patients are empowered to take better control of their health care journeys,” Hollander said.

“Not only does it allow them to continue physical therapy treatments,” he added, “but it also allows them the flexibility to determine what appointment method best meets their personal conditions.”

For more information about telehealth and to learn how Alpine Physical Therapy is responding to the pandemic, Hollander recommends contacting the clinic directly.