Benefits of Remote Physiotherapy, Occupational Health and Wellness Services during Covid 19
April 13, 2020
We are being asked by many clients how can we support employees from a physical and mental health prospective during Covid 19. So here are answers to some questions you may currently have, but please feel free to email or pick up the phone to us to discuss any specific questions you may have regarding a current or new service.
How can Physiotherapy be provided remotely?
We have 4 different methods of carrying out remote consultations, these include Microsoft Team (Skype equivalent for businesses), Zoom, Facetime via smart phone or WhatsApp, or Telephone calls. Our notes are all electronic as are reports we produce so this does not change any of the reporting methods. During a face to face consultation, there is usually significant period of time spent on subjective questioning particularly for the initial assessment appointments, followed by observation of movements and function – both of which can be carried out remotely through video consultations. The element that we are unable to carryout remotely is hands on therapy which is replaced by a self rehabilitation program which we demonstrate to the employee as well as follow this up with an emailed exercise program. Follow up appointments review the progress and are the rehabilitation / exercise program is progressed accordingly. A significant proportion of Physiotherapy rehabilitation is education which is still given remotely with follow up appointments.
What are the benefits of providing remote Physiotherapy during shutdown?
There are many benefits of continuing Physiotherapy and wellbeing services during shut down caused by Covid 19, these include:
- Continuation of assessment and rehabilitation of employees currently suffering from Musculoskeletal problems or those that develop them during the shutdown to minimise the impact of this when you reopen
- According to https://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/msds.htm as many as 33% of adults over 50 also experience anxiety issues relating to their MSD and as many as 22% of them have persistent depression problems, hence the importance of managing MSDs
- MSDs remains the second leading cause of sickness absence and if not managed early can often be one of the leading causes of long term absence or restriction. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-matters-health-and-work/health-matters-health-and-work
- Continuing a service during shutdown also highlights and promotes the companies commitment to staff wellbeing physically and mentally.
- As recommended by the Government exercise is extremely important in during Covid 19 for physical and mental wellbeing but also to maintain or improve lung capacity so if someone does develop Covid 19 symptoms they are in a better position to be able to fight this.
What is the evidence for the effectiveness of remote Physiotherapy?
Remote Physiotherapy services have been extensively researched and are now the first line of management for MSDs within NHS settings. Physiotherapy Matters are have delivered remote Physiotherapy services for a number of years within NHS and Occupational Health settings, including Virgin Money to manage their MSDs nationally.
Although the following study was an NHS based trial, there as some key points which demonstrate the benefits of an remote Physiotherapy service https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23356839/
The article highlights the benefits of telephone based heath assessments in in Occupational Health and Wellbeing services.https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/telephone-health-assessments-good-practice-occupational-health/
Lastly the following literature highlights the effectiveness of Physiotherapy within an Occupational Health service.https://www.csp.org.uk/publications/physiotherapy-works-occupational-health
If you have any further questions or would like to discuss things further please do not hesitate to contact us.