‘Sometimes the Sports doc is in London, Athlete in Spain, Coach in Melbourne and Physio in Buninyong but it can be managed with technology!’
You may have noticed this week that I have been performing Physiotherapy with Telehealth using telephone and zoom as a way of exercising social distancing but still continuing essential care for patients.
I am well and not affected physically by the COVID19 virus but understand that in order to beat this virus we must all limit our contact with each other. For weeks we have all been meticulous in exercising the ultimate precautions of hand washing, cleaning and personal protection at Ballarat OSM but this is the next step.
Most are asking what a physio can do if not putting their hands on someone. It certainly is a different service but one that I have had some exposure to in my sports physio life when dealing with international sports medicine teams and athletes. Sometimes the sports doctor is in London, athlete in Spain, coach in Melbourne and physio in Buninyong but it can all be managed with technology! Anything is possible!
Telehealth has existed for some time in sports physiotherapy and for health in rural and remote environments but now it emerges as the safe option. STAY HOME AND STAY SAFE!
The types of services that a Physiotherapist can offer with telemedicine are;
- Interviewing the client and clinically reasoning through what their problems may be.
- Asking the patient to perform certain movements and special movements to physically assess function.
- Teaching the patient, family or carers how to perform certain treatment techniques where appropriate (mobilisation, stretching, massage etc)
- Providing education for the use of gait aids, slings, braces and other equipment.
- Providing education and advice on injury management such as injury protocols, recovery timeframes and physiotherapy management.
- Monitoring and prescribing exercises.
- Providing work certificates.
- Referring on when needed.
This service has been well received by patients so far. I am finding that when this service and how it may work over zoom is explained to patients that they are then interested in doing it and see its value.
At Ballarat OSM it involves talking over the phone with us, or video conferencing with the zoom program which is free to download and accessible if you have the internet and a device with a camera.
Two examples of patients that I treated with Telehealth today were;
- I performed a zoom review with an 18 year old girl 13 weeks after an ACL knee reconstruction who lives on a farm a few hours drive from Ballarat.
- I interviewed her checking on how she was going, if she had pain or instability in the knee and how her exercises were progressing.
- I then assessed her knee function looking at it to see if it was swollen, how it bent and straightened and how she moved with walking, squatting and lunging.
- Based on her progress I recommended some new exercises for her gym program. I demonstrated these exercises to her from the treatment room at Novar with the videoconference camera. We needed to modify these exercises to the home environment on the farm instead of gymnasium as gyms are closed.
- We updated this on her exercise program spreadsheet together via the screen share function on zoom and she then took a screenshot of the program for her record.
- I checked her doing these new exercises before planning to review her in 2 weeks to progress the rehabilitation program.
- I met a 44 year old factory worker from Avoca for the first time who had rolled his ankle on the worksite sustaining a bony and soft tissue injury.
- I interviewed him asking him about pain, what he could and couldn’t do and the circumstance of how things had happened.
- I examined his ankle assessing the pattern of swelling and bruising, observed movement of the ankle and special movements. I then checked walking and function.
- I Reviewed his MRI and explained the results to him.
- Advised him on walking, brace use, elevation, exercises and work duties.
- I then checked these exercises and we planned for later zoom review.
- The GP was informed of the consultation.
We can make this work for our patients!
DVA, TAC and WorkSafe are funding it. We have some Private Health Insurers on board and are waiting to see if Medicare are able to fund the service with Physio which may happen in the coming week, otherwise patients privately fund it.
If you have any further questions about Telehealth at Ballarat OSM please contact us so we can help.
STAY HOME AND STAY SAFE.
APA SPORTS AND EXERCISE PHYSIOTHERAPIST