Judy Fullerton, Easthill Physiotherapy and Acupuncture owner and registered physiotherapist, using the online platform at home to connect with patients. (Submitted Photo)

Judy Fullerton, Easthill Physiotherapy and Acupuncture owner and registered physiotherapist, using the online platform at home to connect with patients. (Submitted Photo)

Virtual physio connects patients with Okanagan practitioners

Many local physiotherapists are ready to assist, online

Help is here for people who are strained or pained while stuck inside.

Virtual physiotherapy sessions are being offered amid the COVID-19 pandemic to connect patients with practitioners since clinics have closed.

“We’re just trying to take the load off the healthcare system,” said physiotheraphist Tiffany de Heus, of Vernon’s Easthill Physiotherapy and Acupuncture.

With a large number of people stuck at home, many are taking the opportunity to complete home projects or get spring yard work done, which can lead to injuries.

Along with keeping patients out of the doctor’s offices, the online appointments are giving people relief from home.

“If they can’t access care the minute they’re injured they are at more risk for feeling worse down the line,” said de Heus, whose own clinic temporarily closed March 18 but wanted to find a way to make sure the continuum of care was there for patients.

The process obviously isn’t the same as coming into the office, but can be effective in supporting recovery.

“We are a manual therapy clinic so we are very hands on, but you can’t do that, but you can still teach people how to stretch muscles and how to relieve the muscles themselves,” said de Heus, adding that the virtual appointment alloys the physiotherapist to demonstrate stretches and then watch and perfect the client’s technique.

While the number of patients being seen virtually isn’t as high as the clinic would normally see in-person, appointments are going well and the service is expected to stick around, even when offices re-open and people aren’t isolating.

It’s perfect, said de Hues: “if there’s a snowstorm or there’s a patient who’s dependent on a ride and they can’t get here.”

A 15-year-old Vernon business, Easthill Physiotherapy is pleased to be able to continue serving residents amid these unusual times.

“It’s nice to be able to stay present for our community and be there for our community,” said de Hues.

Like Easthill, many other local physiotherapists are also using online platforms to keep clients healthy. One other example is a Telerehab service with Spine and Sports.

“Just go to our website and it’s all there,” said Cheryl Witter of Spine and Sports. “Plus I can show you my cat who is enjoying sitting with me while I ‘work.’”

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