“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller
Now, more than ever, we are surrounded by uncertainty. Employment is up in the air for so many individuals in our community. We continue to band together in an effort to flatten the curve, ease the strain on our hospitals and care for those who are or will be affected by this virus. Time is seeming to become blurry. Days feel like weeks and weeks feel like years as we all try to cope with our temporary new normal.
In healthcare, we often lean on the decisions made by insurance companies regarding our well-being. How much is our deductible, what services does our current plan cover, are we in network with that provider? These large companies are able to dictate so much, while ignoring the individual voices of so many. These corporations are also huge, rarely positioning themselves to benefit the individuals they cover and frequently ensuring their own profitability. The insurance companies we speak of feel large, distant and unbeknownst to us.
The extensive measures which we continue to take as a society will come at great cost to all, most especially our small businesses. However, these small businesses are often unique in a way that large corporations are not. They are agile, able to move quickly in a new direction and create a change to continue to service others. That’s exactly what RPI plans to do.
For the time being, we will be moving exclusively to telehealth, using the face-to-face online platform, Zoom. Telehealth provides us a safe and effective medium to interact with patients and continue to serve our community. As an organization, we have been working diligently for the past week to ensure that we would be ready to provide a quality service that meets the needs of our community. And while the delivery of that service may look different, RPI’s mission will remain the same; to build healthier and happier communities.
We will see over the coming days and weeks that insurance companies will be making blanket statements that they will be covering telehealth services, we have already seen that physical therapy is likely not to be included. This doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to help others and hopefully inspire other small businesses to do the same. With that being said, we plan to offer telehealth services on a “pay what you can” payment plan. This will mean that we will have a rate that we charge patients, but if they do not have the financial means to pay that rate, they can instead pay us what they feel is reasonable for them. This is a seismic shift away from traditional thinking, but as company, we feel that it’s the right thing to do.
We can all help each other during this time. So we hope that you do #WhatYouCan as well!
What You’ll Need to Participate in Telehealth
You will need online access via a laptop or smartphone with video chat capabilities in order to utilize Zoom. Once your telehealth visits have been scheduled, you will receive an e-mail or text from your provider with a link to your online meeting.
Setting Up Zoom
- Download Zoom software to your device of choice by clicking here: Zoom Download
- Once Zoom is installed on your device, you can return to the meeting link (sent via text or e-mail) to launch. Once Zoom is installed, prior to each meeting you will receive a link to start your session.
- At the time of your appointment, when prompted, you’ll select “Join with Video” to begin meeting with your provider.
Tips for a Successful Session
- Limit streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) being used in the background as this will limit the video quality of your meeting.
- An isolated, quiet spot for the meeting with limited distractions is ideal.
- An open area with 5-10 feet around you is best with a chair, bed, etc. to sit on as you would a therapy table in a clinic setting.
- A camera placed around waist height will be the best angle for you therapist to evaluate your movement and give you feedback.
- Shorts are the best attire. If this is not an option- then bright, tight fitting pants or leggings are a good alternative to be seen easily on camera.
There are a few items that we frequently utilize during in-person treatment sessions that we believe it would be helpful for you to have during your at-home therapy sessions. We have included that item list below, as well as some more common household items that you can possibly use as replacements. Please note, it is not required that you purchase any of these items, they would simply be helpful in your care.
- This item can be purchased at several stores locally or online for under $10. At home you could substitute this item for a firm pillow, beach towel rolled up and tied or taped up, rolled yoga mat, bottle or cannister wrapped in towel.
Kettlebell (5 – 10 lbs.)
- This item can also be purchased at local stores and A 5-10 lb. dumbbell would work as well, however, we like that holding a kettlebell from the bottom challenges stability. At home, a plastic jug can be recycled (example: half gallon of milk) and filled with water to match appropriate weight needs. A gallon of liquid will weigh between 8 and 9 pounds.
- This will be one of the easiest items to replace at home. While a strap like the one above might be handy due to the multiple loops, a rope, ratchet strap, or even a bed sheet can do the trick.
- Depending on the area you will be using for therapy at home, a yoga mat may help in providing you a comfortable surface to complete exercises that might be done lying on the floor or in a kneeling position. More important than the yoga mat itself will be having an open area that can be easily viewed from your computer and that it is easy for you to change positions. A soft carpeted floor would work as well. Having a chair in this area will be helpful as well for you therapist to complete the most thorough assessment possible. We have included a photo below of an example “set up” area, but this by no means has to look like your individual set up in your home.
Tennis or Lacrosse Ball
- Utilizing a small round object such as a tennis or lacrosse ball can help your therapist teach you self strategies from improving movement. Any small round object like a tennis ball would work, but again, is not necessary for completing therapy via telehealth.
Below is a photo example of what your therapy setup area may look like: