Tara Miller, Q.C. – April 2020
Prior to COVID-19, many of MDW Law’s personal injury clients were in some form of rehabilitative treatment to assist with their recovery from accident injuries. While the availability of treatment options ground to a halt in mid-March, the need for treatment did not leaving many clients feeling alone and uncertain in their recovery journey.
As noted by Allison Harris in her April 6 blog https://www.mdwlaw.ca/personal-injury-covid-19-and-medical-treatment-after-an-accident/: “just like we are learning to adapt our lives to working from home, staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing, those who are recovering from an injury also need to learn ways to adapt their treatment and lifestyle to minimize flare-ups and maintain their progress during this crisis”.
Accessing treatment through tele-health has become a critical part of this adaptation. As part of MDW Law’s ongoing client support, we will be running a blog series based on interviews with various tele-health treatment providers who will share their experience and insight into the benefit and value of virtual treatment.
For our 1st post, we were pleased to speak with physiotherapist Tyler Dillman of One to One Wellness to help understand how virtual physiotherapy treatment can assist. One to One Wellness has a wealth of experience treating chronic and complex pain cases with a treatment model based on one on one care. Through tele-health, they are able to continue to virtually provide one on one physiotherapy care to existing and new clients. https://121wellness.ca/virtualphysio/
When asked what clients could expect with a virtual physio session, Tyler explained “Clients can expect everything they would have from an in-person physio session without the hands on. Access to a device with a microphone and camera is idea, although some aspects of a physio session can take place with just a phone. Virtual physio sessions include the taking of a detailed history including symptoms and assessing whether more urgent care is required, a mobility assessment (which can only be done with a camera) to allow the physiotherapist to assess things such as someone guarding or protecting areas of injury, instruction on home exercises and education and support.
Individualized education is a large part of the virtual physio session with Tyler teaching and providing guidance on correct form for exercises, advice on pacing and self-management, and information on other accessible home supports for recovery and symptom relief such as ice/heat or a TENS machine.
Tyler notes TENS machines are not curative but can be very helpful in providing symptom relief during a time when other manual therapies such as massage and osteopathy are not possible. A physiotherapist will make an assessment and determine whether a recommendation for TENS machine is appropriate, along with educating clients on proper use (settings/pad placements, etc.). For insurance coverage purposes, a prescription from a physician for a TENS machine would be required. TENS machines can be purchased from a variety of places including pharmacy health stores or Amazon.
Virtual physio clients can typically be seen within a week with the easiest way to book an appointment through the website https://121wellness.janeapp.com/. As in pre-COVID days, clients can self-refer with motor vehicle accident clients having treatment covered for qualifying injuries through the Insurance Act Section B “Protocols” or with a referral from a physician. New clients are welcome even if the One to One physio treatment is a bridge until their former physio clinic can provide service. Clients can expect a one (1) hour long initial assessment, with follow up treatment sessions typically 30 minutes unless injuries are more complex.
Tyler’s experience is that insurance coverage for virtual physio has not been an issue as “insurance companies have been very good at adapting and seeing the value in virtual physio sessions to manage recovery from accident injuries and symptoms”.
Tyler notes the possibility of in-person physio treatment exists for matters requiring “urgent” care. Considerations for determining the appropriateness of in-person care are set out in https://nsphysio.com/covid-19-information/guidance and can include things such as the presence of neurological signs and symptoms, signs of a Traumatic Brain Injury or patients requiring immediate postoperative treatment.
The closure of rehabilitative clinics across Nova Scotia in mid-March left many clients feeling alone, in pain and very uncertain about the future. Tyler notes it’s key for people to understand help is still available virtually and they do not have to journey forward in isolation. Consistent with One to One Wellness’ focus on one on one care, his goal is to guide clients into creating an optimal healing environment and to support them through education while reassuring them they are not alone.
If you have any questions regarding your accident claim and accessing treatment, then please reach out to one of our Personal Injury team for a free consult. Contact us at 902.422.5881 or firstname.lastname@example.org.