(3/31/20, BU Today)
Remote classes and virtual cocktail parties may be the most common Zoom activities across the country at the moment, but creative use of the online meeting platform has soared among coronavirus shut-ins. Now you can add physical therapy to the services available to the BU community via the cloud platform.
“Over the past two weeks, we have worked tirelessly to transition our care online with secured, HIPAA-protected Zoom and Microsoft Teams to communicate with each other and with our patients,” says Emma Zeligson (Sargent’16,’18), a Rehabilitation Physical Therapy Center physical therapist at the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Ryan Center for Sports Medicine.
The result, Zeligson says, is “excellent continuation of care for all current patients as we are observing, demonstrating, and providing feedback on appropriate postures and exercises.”
Screenshot of Emma Zeligson (small window) and her friend Patrick demonstrate the efficacy of physical therapy via Zoom.
Just ask Dori Hutchinson (Sargent’85,’96), BU Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation director of services, who injured some ligaments in November and reaggravated them in January.
“I have been seeing Emma Zeglison at the Ryan Center since February, and she has been guiding me to heal,” says Hutchinson, a Sargent associate clinical professor. “When we were all sent home to shelter in place, Emma reached out to see if I wanted to continue virtually. I have been absolutely all in.
“We check in on how I am doing and then she has me do my exercises while she watches for my form and technique. I take my computer to the living room, put the laptop on my hassock and do the exercises on the living room rug…while she watches.” Even when she’s working out outdoors, Hutchinson says via email, “Emma can help me make adjustments and provide me with the next challenge in my treatment. So it has been very different, but just as helpful and effective. I am able to continue my healing process that started in person, with a little technology and a lot of environmental creativity.”
The BU community’s huge migration to work-at-home status has also meant new challenges for physical therapists. “People are working at their dining room tables, on the floor, on their couch,” Zeligson says. “This change in work environment and change in sitting postures can sometimes cause discomfort and interfere with their ability to work. We want people to know we are here to help modify their ‘new’ workstations and provide education on exercises/stretches they can perform to prevent discomfort.”
PT-by-Zoom has worked so well that the center has set up BUPTC Live, where prospective patients can call front desk staff to do their intake paperwork and immediately transition to one of the therapists standing by ready to take a new evaluation. This means little to no wait time for patients in pain to start PT.
This article is part of the daily Coronavirus Roundup in BU Today.