The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of our health care team members to adapt and change. While some adaptations were temporary, others have uncovered better ways to connect with and care for the communities in which we serve.
For the team at the Bon Secours Richmond Hope Therapy Center, the initial reaction to the pandemic included a bit of fear as patients are children with special needs. This demographic is among the most vulnerable, not only with this virus but also without the constant physical therapy services this team provides.
That fear ended up motivating action. Led by Cindy Richards (pictured above right), the founder of this facility, and fueled by resources and support from Bon Secours, the team embraced the notion of connecting with their patients via telehealth.
To an outsider, providing intensive, typically hands-on physical therapy through a screen might seem impossible. And it is true this transition to virtual care was not easy. But the team at Richmond Hope Therapy Center found a way to make it work.
During the months of April and May, the facility had more telehealth visits than any other Bon Secours clinic in Virginia. Their new normal also created some magical moments and provided insights that a clinic visit wouldn’t have been able to uncover.
For instance, during a telehealth session, one physical therapist noticed a small step in a child’s home between their living room and kitchen. This small step was so important in the child’s daily life, so the therapist incorporated navigating that step into their intensive training. Had the child been in the office, the therapist might not have known how important learning to take that step was for the child’s success and independence.
The transition to virtual care also forced this group of physical therapists to better evaluate their expectations and empower families to be involved. It was not uncommon prior to the pandemic for a parent to indicate their child would not perform certain tasks at home like they did in the office. But via telehealth sessions, families are invited to play a much bigger role. Physical therapists have been able to bridge the gap between function at home versus function in a clinical setting all while supporting and empowering the families to help.
Now, the Richmond Hope Therapy Center has re-opened their office doors. However, they continue to offer telehealth options for families that aren’t comfortable making an in-person visit just yet. As long as they’re able to, the Hope Therapy team will continue to offer telehealth options. Not only has this form of communication been beneficial for their patients, it has been beneficial in helping these physical therapists provide the best care possible.
Learn more about the physical therapy and rehabilitation services we offer at Bon Secours.