Introducing Virtual Health Story Series

COVID-19 has presented us with an opportunity for change. We are looking at different ways to engage with our patients and residents to ensure they receive the care they need. Our Virtual Health program has expanded over the past two months as we continue to look for ways to interact and provide care through distance. Starting today, we will be showcasing a series of virtual health stories — providing a behind the scenes look at our Virtual Health program and sharing stories on how the team here at Providence Health Care is adapting during this time. Take a read! 

Providence Physiotherapists Take Virtual ‘Hands-On’ Approach to Treatment

Physiotherapy has always been an essential service for Providence’s patients. During the COVID-19 crisis, in-person treatments are only available to patients with the most critical issues. As a result, Providence physiotherapists have found other ways to stay connected with their patients, which includes the Virtual Health program and utilizing Zoom to provide the care that they need.

Zoom, a videotelephony and online chat service, has provided the opportunity to maintain the continuum of care for our physiotherapy patients following surgery and traumatic injury. By continuing to provide care, the physiotherapy team has been able to support patients when they need it most.

Timely intervention is important not only to prevent patients from deteriorating and developing complications, but also to ensure they achieve the best possible functional outcomes.

“I realized there is value in what I can offer patients in terms of education, support and guidance as well as providing specific exercise prescriptions for their particular condition,” says Jill Kipnis, outpatient physiotherapist at St. Paul’s Hospital. “I have had patients express to me how helpful it has been to be able to have these visits and how appreciative they have been for not forgetting about them during this pandemic.”

With Zoom, there have been challenges to which the team has had to adapt. For example, assessing and treating patients without physical contact. When using videoconferencing, therapists must talk and explain things more than when seeing a patient in person. As a result, physiotherapists have adjusted their usual way of assessment and treatment to make sure their patients clearly understand how to manage and advance their rehabilitation.  

Benefits of virtual health include a reduction in anxiety by communicating with patients after their injury to educate them on what they should be doing. Also, the obstacle of living far away from the hospital and not being able to come in for treatment is made obsolete, as patients can now receive treatment from the comfort of their living room.