When most people think of physical therapy, they immediately imagine traveling to a physical therapist’s office to workout on strange-looking machines. However, physical therapy doesn’t always demand specialized equipment or state-of-the-art therapy offices. Working to reduce pain and improve mobility for orthopedic conditions or other problems can be done at home. With a professional physical therapist moving you towards your goals, it really isn’t all that different from doing it in person.
Important: All physical therapy should be conducted under the instruction of a licensed physical therapist. Doing physical therapy at home is NOT the same as doing it on your own. Be sure to consult your therapist before making any changes to your recommended physical therapy program.
With many people worried about the possibility of contracting Covid-19 in public spaces, some patients have been tempted to skip physical therapy altogether to avoid exposure. While this can help you avoid exposure to coronavirus, skipping physical therapy can be detrimental to your health in other ways.
Luckily, you don’t have to choose between exposing yourself to the virus and forgoing important medical treatment. As a response to the pandemic, many clinics have successfully implemented new telehealth procedures that allow patients to meet with providers via a video link, instead of traveling to a physical office. Virtual physical therapy appointments are an excellent substitute for clients who don’t want to or aren’t able to come into the office at this time.
How Does a Virtual Therapy Visit Work?
The therapy office will provide a secure, HIPAA-compliant phone or video link to the client for their appointment. Using a video link will allow the therapist to watch the patient’s therapy session and provide feedback about form, progress, etc, making it very similar to a traditional visit. Though patients aren’t expected to have specialized equipment, many therapy exercises can be adapted for completion at home.
Is a Virtual Visit Just as Good as an In-Person Appointment?
While in-person visits allow your physical therapists to offer a more hands-on approach, virtual physical therapy appointments still allow patients to make progress on their therapy goals at a time when in-person visits may not be advisable or even possible for some patients. Protecting and promoting the health of patients is the number one priority of any physical therapist, and making appointments more accessible enables therapists to safely assist patients despite current limitations.
Can I Make Progress on My Therapy With a Virtual Visit?
A virtual physical therapy session will progress much like a traditional session, except it will happen via video. You’ll connect with your therapist through the provided link. During the visit, your therapist will discuss your progress to this point, as well as the strategies and exercises to continue working towards your goals. You’ll be able to work through your exercises and receive feedback and encouragement from your therapist, similar to a regular appointment. Some exercises will be modified in order to be done on your own or without additional equipment, but you will still be able to make progress toward your rehabilitation goals while at home.
Are Virtual Visits Confidential?
Just as with a regular appointment, information from your virtual physical therapy visit is protected under HIPAA regulations. Therapy sessions conducted via phone and video are done using secure systems that are HIPAA-approved to ensure patients have peace of mind when utilizing these new systems for appointments.
Is There a Difference in Cost for a Virtual Physical Therapy Session?
Just like with standard physical therapy appointments, the amount you’ll be required to pay for a virtual therapy session is determined by your insurance provider. However, many providers have elected to waive all co-pays and deductibles for telehealth services during the pandemic. Given the current health and financial crises affecting so many, this is one small thing that can help. By taking this step, physical therapy clinics can help to ensure that everyone can access these much-needed services, even during this time.
Meeting Your Physical Therapy Goals Where You Are
Achieving results through physical therapy is all about making consistent effort toward your goal. Given the world’s current health crisis, a virtual physical therapy session can be a great solution for many patients. Telehealth appointments can help patients continue to progress, instead of stalling or even going backwards. During this unprecedented pandemic, virtual appointments allow patients to get the help they need while still following social distancing guidelines and not exposing themselves to additional risks of exposure to Covid-19.
There’s always some work that must be done outside of the physical therapist’s office. Now, there’s just a lot more of your physical therapy taking place from the comfort of your own home. With consistent efforts in this location, you will be able to reach your goals. You may not even have to leave your home at all to get the results you’re after.