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Frontline Feature: Leading through COVID

In this Frontline Feature, we had the pleasure to interview some of the Twin Boro team who have been leading the way through COVID-19.

Meet Our Heroes on the Frontline Leading Us Through COVID.

Meet  Jessica Garry Klaskin

Director at Westfield, NJ

How does your job look different since the start of the COVID-19?

Since the start of COVID my job hats have increased. With limited support staff, I am the Aide, Physical Therapy Assistant and Physical Therapist. I am getting to spend more quality time with my patients as I assist them through their entire session. I am also completing the telehealth sessions with my patients where I get to spend 30 minutes with them one on one.

What kind of special precautions are being made for in-person appointments?

For in-person appointments, we are completing a COVID screening upon check-in, taking temperatures, hand sanitizing, and all patients are required to wear a face-covering to enter the facility. All appointments are scheduled with 2 patients per hour and patients are maintained at a 6’ distance throughout their treatment session.

How are you meeting the needs of your patients under current conditions?

We are providing a safe and welcoming environment for the patients to receive their care. We have been working with many post-operative patients and many patients that are working from home and experiencing discomfort from sudden prolonged sitting.

What challenges are you overcoming in your clinic that are specific to your role or patient population?

We are overcoming the challenges of maintaining social distancing within the clinic to protect all patients, especially those that are immuno-compromised. We are maintaining a sanitized office and a positive environment that will allow patients to have a successful session.

In light of ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, how has the transition to telehealth helped during this time?

Telehealth has helped patients continue to work on their goals of regaining their function without the interruption of care. We have been able to continue to work with post-op patients or those with chronic conditions that would have lost function without our services. As PTs we have gotten to spend 30 minutes of quality uninterrupted treatment time educating our patients and progressing their programs.

How quickly have your patients adapted from in-clinic visits to telehealth-based appointments?

Patients have adapted very quickly. It has been nice to be able to continue to work with patients at this time and continue their care. It has been a sense of normalcy for me to get to see the patient and for them to see me for their treatment during the week. It has also been a pleasure to get to meet their families and pets during these sessions!

What kind of services and care are you able to provide via telehealth?

We are able to provide evaluations, home program development and progression, safe home environment education, and education regarding their diagnosis.

What advice would you give to someone who needs Physical Therapy services now?

We are excited to welcome the community back for Physical Therapy services, be it in the clinic or on telehealth at this time. We are maintaining all CDC recommendations within the clinic to provide a safe treatment session. We look forward to getting you back to your goals both pre and post COVID-19 safely in our clinic or from home.

Meet Brian Fallon

Physical Therapist and Clinical Director at Fair Lawn, NJ

How does your job look different since the start of the COVID-19?

We have been utilizing the Telehealth platform to provide skilled physical therapy interventions via video. This has been advantageous for the patients who are unable to come into the clinic. We have been able to instruct them in proper exercise techniques and select the exercises best suited to help maintain and improve function while at home.

What kind of special precautions are being made for in-person appointments?

We have rearranged the office to ensure 6 feet of separation between treatment tables. We are limiting the number of patients in the clinic at one time to also ensure proper social distancing. All of the staff are wearing gloves and masks as well as all patients wearing masks. We take temperature checks of all staff patients entering the clinic. In addition, we sanitize all tables and equipment before and after use.

How are you meeting the needs of your patients under current conditions?

Despite the current conditions, we are still able to provide the same quality care to our patients, just following different precautions. We can still provide one on one manual therapy to address impairments just while wearing gloves. In addition to manual, hands-on therapy, we still prescribe specific exercises to improve a patient’s function and quality of life.

What challenges are you overcoming in your clinic that are specific to your role or patient population?

Many patients were concerned about being in the clinic but with all the precautions we have taken we are able to provide a safe environment to complete their therapy. We have also assisted patients with the acquisition of prescriptions and scheduling of MD visits to ensure no lapses in treatment occur while patients wait to see their MDs.

In light of ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, how has the transition to telehealth helped during this time?

Telehealth has helped a lot during this time. We were able to keep patients exercising and providing our expertise while they sheltered in their homes. This helped maintain functional gains achieved in the clinic and allowed us to progress their exercise programs to further improve their function.

How quickly have your patients adapted from in-clinic visits to telehealth-based appointments?

Patients adapted very easily to the Telehealth. Many of the patients found it helpful to have a designated time to perform their exercises and enjoyed having the skilled eye of the clinician guiding their exercises and correcting and issues in performance or mechanics. Many of our Telehealth patients have transitioned back to the clinic as restrictions have been lifted.

What kind of services and care are you able to provide via telehealth?

Via Telehealth we are able to direct the patients through a specific exercise program designed to address their impairments and functional limitations within the specific confines of their environment. We are also able to answer any questions that patients have about their care.

What advice would you give to someone who needs Physical Therapy services now?

I would advise to not hesitate to call us. We can help them whether it is in the clinic or in their homes via Telehealth. We are doing everything we can to continue to provide quality care to all our patients.

Meet Jason Carelis

Clinical Director at  Lincoln Park

How does your job look different since the start of the COVID-19?

I have had to be able to juggle many different tasks. I have had to change the way we schedule and interact with patients. I also have been keeping up with cleaning the clinic as well as laundry and front office tasks.

What kind of special precautions are being made for in-person appointments?

I am cleaning all pieces of equipment after use. All of the staff are also donning masks and gloves.

How are you meeting the needs of your patients under current conditions?

I am being very flexible with scheduling for all patients. I have also significantly expanded my own hours in the clinic to help with staffing changes.

In light of ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, how has the transition to telehealth helped during this time?

Telehealth has helped us to keep up with patients who would have normally fallen off the program because of the COVID 19 epidemic. This has helped patients not stop with the gains that had been made.

How quickly have your patients adapted from in-clinic visits to telehealth-based appointments?

It only took 1-2 visits but everyone who transitioned has done a great job with adapting. The technology and coaching take a little negotiating in the beginning but once you get going and understand the tech it makes it easier. The ability to share the exercises over the call is an amazing feature.

What kind of services and care are you able to provide via telehealth?

We were able to correct form on exercises, check the motion of joints, and expand/modify programs.

What advice would you give to someone who needs Physical Therapy services now?

With the precautions, we are taking in the office and the availability of telehealth we are able to accommodate anyone who is in need of improving overall health, reduce pain, and improve function with physical therapy.

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