Physical therapists move to telemedicine as pandemic lingers

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 6:22 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Doctors, dentists and now physical therapists are all changing the way they work with patients. But how are some physical therapy practices, who are normally very hands-on and close to patients, adapting to the COVID-19 world?

“So it is a totally different experience,” said Kirstie Racinski, clinical director for PT Solutions. “Would say there’s definitely a learning curve for both myself and the patient.”

Racinski says business isn’t quite the same as it was five months ago.

"I do still have some patients I'm seeing over video," Racinski said. "They still have some concerns about COVID and coming into the clinic for their own safety. In order to keep those patients safe and continue to help them, I do have some video appointments on a day to day basis."

Telemedicine is becoming a major part of how practices are treating and seeing patients.

That means Racinksi is trying to help most patients virtually.

“I can do a movement assessment, I can get average range of motion, like measurements throught there,” Racinski said. “I can get general functional strength assessments through a video based on what that patient is able to tolerate and able to do.”

But this practice isn't the only one doing online sessions. Across town at Georgialina Physical Therapy, they say it's become a staple in their treatment plans too.

“It’s kind of paved the avenue a little bit more for {T to be an option on telemed, and I don’t think it won’t be an option in the future,” Georgialina’s lead physical therapist, Justin Horne, said. “Some of the things we kind of lost with the translation to telemedicine we actually gained in other ways.”

And getting help to patients no matter the circumstance is the main goal.

"How can we really just help the community and reach out to those individuals and try and help in whatever way we can," Racinski said.

PT Solutions says it will continue to see patients in person, but if COVID-19 does get worse and we see another spike, they will try to move more patients online.

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