Preparing patients for tele-physical therapy
Proper planning can help set your physical therapy patients up for success.
Providers can do several things before, during, and after appointments to help patients feel comfortable and prepared for delivering successful treatment.
In addition, consider an online filing system to organize patient information. Include an electronic folder of therapy exercise media or home programming for each session that can be easily shared with the patient for later use.
Select a member of your staff to take the lead in educating patients. Consider someone who is technologically savvy, a good communicator, and aware of the applications of tele-PT. Connect with patients during a low-stress time to test the connection, download software, and change settings if necessary. Use this time to discuss the flow of the appointment, troubleshooting plans, and the expectations of the PT program.
When scheduling appointments, consider the patient and their family’s daily routine, including meals, rest times, and medications. If the patient has a caregiver, schedule the session at a time that works for all parties.
Prior to the appointment, let the patient know what items, equipment, or homework to have ready and available in the space where the visit will occur. You may send packets of instructions, exercises, therapy plans, and therapy items to the home or email and instruct the patient and family to find items to use in upcoming sessions.
Send reminder messages days ahead of the scheduled encounter and minutes ahead. Many telehealth platforms have virtual waiting rooms, making this convenient for patients and therapists.
Remind family or caregivers with small children or other distractions that therapy time is dedicated to the patient and their therapy goals. Recommend that they turn off the TV and other distractions and give therapy priority.