ARNPRIOR – For Maria Cassanto, virtual physiotherapy through Arnprior Regional Health (ARH) has been a convenient way to continue to heal from her knee injury and achieve her rehabilitation goals during the pandemic.
In summer 2020, ARH launched its Connected Care Patient Portal that includes numerous digital health features such as online access to lab results and medical reports, appointment history and virtual visits. The Outpatient Physiotherapy Team has leveraged the virtual visits as a new option for patients, like Maria.
Maria injured her right knee tissue, MCL and kneecap track in December 2019. Her kneecap bends to the side instead of straight causing pain to the tissues around it.
“My physiotherapy goal is to strengthen my knee and hip to allow my kneecap to bend straight on the track,” the 16-year-old said. “I also really want to get back to sports – especially basketball.”
The Outpatient Physiotherapy Team offers a choice of virtual visits, in-person visits or a mix after the initial consult is done in the clinic. To date, the team has facilitated 22 virtual visits.
“Virtually, we can still see our patients and understand their problem and main concerns,” ARH physiotherapist Sarah Martins said. “We of course cannot do hands-on therapy for the patient, but we can still do a quality re-assessment and deliver the treatment that is needed including education about their problem and showing them the proper positioning, posture and exercises they need for their recovery.”
Maria chose the virtual option for her ARH physiotherapy with safety in mind during the pandemic, and because the technology makes it easier to attend appointments without the hassle of planning rides.
“I went to a face-to-face appointment before I joined virtually so we got to do hands-on work, see where I was functionally and walk through the exercises so when I joined virtually it was very easy to continue the work, and add on exercises,” Maria said.
The ARH Outpatient Physiotherapy Team provides OHIP-funded services to clients who meet the Ministry of Health criteria including individuals who are 65 years or older and kids and teens 19 years or younger, as well as individuals who were recently discharged from an inpatient hospital stay and need physiotherapy services connected to the condition or illness they were hospitalized for.
For Maria, virtual physiotherapy has helped her move through recovery towards achieving her goals.
“My virtual physio has allowed me to heal my knee and bring strength back to it after a year of weakness,” Maria said. “It feels good to be able to be active and heal at the same time – and I’ve been able to sleep better because of my rehabilitation.”