Back into the real world…

Overwhelmed by a sense of powerlessness as I decide to shut down the hospital's outpatient department. Self-isolation with my family for 10 days. Finally my nasal swab for COVID-19 results were negative. Now I am returning to work at the hospital as a Physiotherapist. Feelings of guilt well up inside me because nearly all of my friends who work in private practice are laid off.

No Idea what Physiotherapy will look like now…

Sure, I still have patient care to do on acute care, but that is slow because so many patients have been cleared out in anticipation of the coming wave of patients with COVID-19. It is like the calm before the storm, and I feel there is nothing I can do to turn the tide.

Looking for a sense of control in a world of uncertainty…

At my core I seek to connect with others and help them with their well-being. I look for small ways where I can start to feel a sense of purpose again. I start going through my outpatient caseload, one chart at a time. Phoning people, I say I am just checking in, wanting to see how they are doing. I don't tell them I want to distract myself from how I am actually doing. 

A light in the darkness…

Something magical starts gaining momentum. The phone calls evolve into telehealth sessions. The more video physio sessions I have, the more connections I create. The more I help others with their well-being, the more I feel I am delivering value and living a life of purpose. I am reminded of one of my favourite Dali Lama quotes: 

If you feel you are too small to make a difference in the world then try sleeping with a mosquito.

The Epiphanies of a Telephysiotherapist…

We can most definitely deliver value to our patients with telehealth, or videophysio as I like to call it. Patient feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Just as importantly, at the end of each session, I have felt surprisingly confident that I have delivered value. 

When we cannot do needling, manual therapy, or modalities… we observe, we listen, we connect, we empathize, we problem-solve, we encourage, we educate. Pain and inactivity come with a whole range of emotions. Too often in our culture, the tendency is to stuff down or gloss over emotions. The reality is emotions need motion in order to heal. 

We move people. We create motion for healing in so many ways.  

We no longer have to navigate all of the white noise that comes with a face-to-face interaction, and the patient's expectation of a magical touch or instant fix from some fancy gadget, or our indecisiveness around what modality or technique to choose.

We get to the root of our patients behaviors and beliefs around their pain and activity so much more efficiently and effectively when all the noise is removed in the telephysio setting.

Now is the Time to embrace being a Telephysiotherapist... 

Our patients need us, now more than ever. We have a high-stress environment with disruption of normal routines. This brings new barriers for patients to navigate ways to be more active. Activity helps prevent and control co-morbidities. Activity helps immunity. Activity helps mental resilience. Keeping active is crucial as COVID-19 and the associated public health measures continue to roll out. 

We also need our patients; our own mental health is dependent on them. In a time when our own sense of worth and purpose in the world is challenged, we need to center in on the core reasons why we chose to become physiotherapists. A common value among therapists is compassion. We empathize with others suffering and we take action to help.  

Take action now. We are champions in helping people overcome challenges to become more active. Forget your finances. Forget any social stigmas. Instead focus on your compassion. Embrace being a telephysiotherapist!