The COVID-19 pandemic compelled many physical therapists to pivot to Virtual Physical Therapy. Also recognized as “Telehealth Physical Therapy,” the practice is rapidly growing.
What is Telehealth Physical Therapy?
Rather than traveling for an in-person visit, patients communicate with a physical therapist via phone call or video conference. This especially benefits patients in which physical touch from their PT is not required. Remote physical therapy sessions can be used to better educate patients.
Is it Effective?
Research has shown that remote physical therapy is equally as effective as in-person therapy. Telerehabilitation was shown to be similarly effective as traditional care for patients recovering from a knee arthroplasty. According to the Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal, “telerehabilitation in physical therapy could be comparable with in-person rehabilitation or better than no rehabilitation for conditions such as osteoarthritis, low-back pain, hip and knee replacement, and multiple sclerosis and also in the context of cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation.” Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Physical Therapy Association has been a strong advocate for telehealth as an effective and viable method for delivering patient care.
Benefits of Virtual Physical Therapy
- Accessible to more patients – especially for those who live in rural areas that are far from their nearest PT clinic.
- Helps patients independently manage their symptoms – can grant them a greater sense of independence, making them feel more in control of their recovery process
- Saves time: It may be easier for patients to fit into their busy lives since they wouldn’t have to drive to a physical therapy clinic. For those with demanding work schedules, it can provide a level of convenience
Expectations from a Virtual Physical Therapy Session
As a patient, you will need a computer, phone, or tablet. Before the session, it is important to have a reliable internet connection and a spot in your home where you can move around easily. Make sure to also position your camera so that your PT can see all your movements. During the session, your instructor will verbally guide you through exercises and perform them with you as a demonstration. In certain situations, they may ask you to use furniture or another prop in your home to assist you through an exercise.
What Makes for a Successful Session?
It’s the job of the physical therapist to assist patients in regaining their range of motion, managing nagging pains, and improving their overall quality of life. Your PT should express compassion, communicate clearly, and encourage questions. They will also work with you to create realistic goals and make a plan to work towards those goals.
How to Get Started?
FlexIt Virtual Personal Training (VPT) plans include the possibility to conduct remote physical therapy with certified professionals. FlexIt’s trainers will work hand-in-hand to assess and define fitness levels and how they relate to individual physical health and wellness.
Chat with a FlexIt coach to learn more!