Physiotherapy Telehealth during COVID-19: Benefits and Limitations

 While telehealth has become a real buzzword over the past month or so due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not a new thing.  Using technology to perform physiotherapy consults has been happening in some spheres for quite some time. There are a number of benefits to being involved in telehealth physio rehab. 

  •  Telehealth is effective - it may be a little bit different to what we are used to, but because telehealth already has some history behind it, lots of good research has been done. And the good news is that telehealth consults have been shown to be just as effective as a consult performed person to person in-clinic (and in some cases even more effective). So before you start to think that telehealth is just a makeshift method of rehab during a worldwide crisis, it’s important to know that it does work.

  • Telehealth is convenient - being able to engage in your rehab online means that you save time and money travelling to and from the clinic (which is fantastic in our fast-paced world where these commodities are very important). Not only that, but many people also feel more comfortable in their own home surroundings.  

  • Telehealth is patient-centred - in clinic physiotherapy sessions usually only take up a small part of your week and the rest of the week you are in your own environment taking on your rehab. Telehealth helps us as physiotherapists to understand your home environment better so that we can gear your rehab program more effectively in regards to what equipment, facilities etc. that you have at home for doing your rehab. 

  • Telehealth is focussed on self-management - while hands-on treatment in the clinic can be helpful, sometimes people can start to rely on the hands-on treatment provided by the physiotherapist. Because telehealth focusses on education and exercise rehabilitation, we are in a great position to get beside you (metaphorically speaking) to devise the best ways for you to take control of your pain, and feel like you can self-manage. 

  • Telehealth makes treatment more accessible - with many people trying to self-isolate currently to try to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus, it becomes more difficult to provide in person physiotherapy services.  Using telehealth platforms to provide rehab services for clients means that many more people can still can the help they need, while feeling safe at home.  Also, telehealth can be a great way of meeting the health needs of people who live in remote / rural areas of the country or have poor mobility, and thus ordinarily have limited ability to access physiotherapy services.  

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to call or email any of your concerns or queries. You can also visit Zoom's FAQ here.

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