Welcome to the #LifeCantWait Blog, SPEAR Physical Therapy’s official stream for fitness tips, exercise advice, and healthy lifestyle inspiration. Our articles and features are written by our physical therapists and staff members with your progress in mind. Designed to educate and motivate, SPEAR’s #LifeCantWait Blog exists to share your stories and help you get back to life! Disclaimer
The coronavirus pandemic has been a difficult hurdle for so many people across the world. New York in particular was hit hard—considered the epicenter of the disease when it first emerged, we’ve managed to flatten the curve and get back to a more normal state of being. Although the city is seeing improvement, many people are still feeling the effects of the virus, particularly those who contracted it: there has been a resurgence of side effects and ailments in patients, even months after recovering from the virus.
Michael Reagan is one example.
Michael is a patient of ours, seeking treatment with Aimee Bitzel, PT, DPT, MS at our Union Square clinic. Michael is usually a very active person: he participates in many sports, including running. He enjoys rock climbing with friends. He loves to travel and explore new places. Last March, however, he contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalized for nearly two months. Fast forward to the present day: a full year later and he is still feeling negative effects from the virus. Michael was featured in a piece that recently aired on CNN—filmed at our Union Square physical therapy clinic. Michael was interviewed about his struggles since contracting the virus and how it’s affecting his everyday life. Constant chest pain, seizures, tremors, and loss of vision in one eye are just some of the side effects Michael has been unfortunately experiencing.
Despite the uphill battle Michael is facing, he is a trooper through and through! He works diligently with his Physical Therapist, Aimee, during his sessions, and stays on course with his Covid Rehab treatment plan to ensure he’s helping his body work at its optimal level. Though we know Michael is dealing with some unprecedented ailments, we will be here to help him continue on his journey back to life!
As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, we strive to always look through the lens of what is best for the safety of our patients and team members. To ensure we are keeping up with the latest news and protocols set by the experts and the CDC, we’ve implemented many different new procedures and safety precautions.
Clinic hours & operations will be open during our usual normal hours—for more information, take a look at our locations page to find the clinic nearest you.
Here is a more in-depth look at our current practices:
Safer In-Clinic Procedures
We are taking proper precautions necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone within the clinic. To do so, we are implementing extra pre-screening precautions. This includes temperature readings of all staff and patients, installation of sneeze guards at front desks, automation of paperwork/payment to limit contact, and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of all areas, both by our team and a professional cleaning crew. Patients will be asked to complete a phone screen prior to entering the clinic.
Employees will continue to follow stringent sanitation and personal hygiene practices, including frequent hand washing, and consistent disinfecting of equipment and treatment tables. All staff members will be provided Personal Protective Equipment, including masks and gloves, to be worn at all times. We will be distributing masks, free of charge, to any patients who may not have any on hand.
Telehealth/Home Care Visits
For those looking to stay at home, SPEAR LIVE, our virtual, online, physical and occupational therapy service, is 100% covered by most insurance plans. We also offer SPEAR On-Call, where our therapists travel to the patients’ houses, apartments, offices, or hotels.
Our goal with these services is to offer safe and effective care for all individuals, regardless of their comfort levels with traveling. SPEAR LIVE and SPEAR On-Call allow us to continue to treat those who need physical care but are unable to leave their homes. Availability is limited—please reach out to us directly for more information.
One requirement of our in-clinic safety standards is that everyone wears a mask. If patients do not have their own, we will gladly provide one for them, free of charge.
As we learn more information about the situation at hand, we will continue to adapt and evolve to meet the demands and needs of safety.
With the entire world facing this new crisis, the respiratory health of our community has become increasingly more important. SPEAR is proud to offer lung strengthening breathing exercises and endurance training through our online Telehealth platform, SPEAR LIVE.
Our team of therapists is committed to helping those affected by COVID-19, as well as those affected by other pulmonary conditions, regain their mobility, decrease pain, and improve lung function for their overall health. Improved breathing function and posture, and stronger lungs, are beneficial for patients who have been diagnosed and/or assumed to have COVID-19. These breathing and lung endurance exercises are also beneficial to those who have other pulmonary conditions – like COPD – that have worsened due to decreased activity levels and postural dysfunction from being confined to their homes. And with most insurances covering up to 100% of costs, there’s never been a better time to get the care you need.
You can benefit if you are experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest and/or back pain, difficulty/pain coughing, difficulty clearing phlegm, and/or weakness & poor endurance. Our Therapists will be performing evaluations and treatment of patients, which could include breathing exercises, posture exercises, endurance training and lung strengthening, through our online Telehealth platform SPEAR LIVE. Treatment sessions can include a variety of different techniques focused on what your complaints are, including: self-mobilization and release of tight muscles and joints; breathing & coughing exercises to clear lungs; strength and endurance training; positioning for sleep/rest; and pulmonary rehab education
Did you know: 100% of Telehealth costs are now covered by most insurance companies!?
The stress of the Coronavirus has impacted everyone in a multitude of ways. One of the most pressing matters on many people’s minds is how to continue receiving physical & occupational therapy treatment in the midst of this chaotic storm. With the launch of our newest telehealth service, SPEAR LIVE, we’re able to reach more patients from the comfort of their own home. We wanted to introduce this convenient option in order to reach more people who need our continued help.
While Telehealth has provided an avenue for continued physical & occupational therapy treatment, insurance companies realized how challenging it is to stay healthy during the stay-at-home orders: the nation’s citizens are logistically and financially burdened, and with these barriers, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to stay active.
To help combat this problem and help you continue your course of care, nearly all insurance companies have now decided to cover 100% of the costs of telehealth online physical & occupational therapy treatment!
This exciting new decision helps more insured patients receive the care they need, even if they are unable to travel to a clinic. With the accessibility of our in-home virtual appointments, it’s never been easier to stay active, build healthy habits, and upkeep the cadence of your physical & occupational therapy treatment.
Want clarity and confirmation on your insurance costs?
SPEAR LIVE works on any mobile device, including a tablet, laptop, and even a cell phone. If you’re able to video chat on your device, you’re able to use it with SPEAR LIVE! You don’t need to download any fancy equipment, either—we’ll send you over a link to access directly from your browser!
Now that the Coronavirus pandemic is keeping patients at home, telehealth physical & occupational therapy is in high demand. However, it is still an unknown service to many patients. Therefore, to help you understand what to expect with online, virtual therapy, we have compiled the most frequently asked questions about our telehealth physical & occupational therapy service, SPEAR LIVE. Watch and read below!
What is Telehealth Physical and Occupational Therapy?
What exactly is telehealth physical and occupational therapy?
Telehealth physical and occupational therapy is the use of electronic telecommunications technology to provide physical and occupational therapy services, instead of being performed in-person. Telehealth therapy utilizes online audio and video (very similar to FaceTime or Facebook Messenger, or any of the other video communications platforms available to the masses) to allow the patient and the therapist to be in separate locations and still conduct an appointment. Telehealth goes by many names and is often referred to as “online” or “virtual” therapy.
Will the telehealth visit be the same as an in-office visit?
Telehealth physical therapy visits will of course not include manual, hands-on treatment. The sessions are meant to fill in whatever gap you’re currently facing. Our Physical and Occupational Therapists are here as your resource! They are also typically around 30 minutes long. And, just like you’re used to, we will guide you through the exercises, give you new exercise progressions, or answer any questions you might have about your current issue (or any new issues)!
How will our sessions be as effective as in-clinic sessions?
We will structure the sessions however you’d like. I will make sure your home exercise program is updated and clear so you know what to do each day! These sessions have the potential to be even more effective than our in-person appointments by helping you independently manage your condition.
What are we going to do during the sessions?
We can do whatever you’d like during the session as we want it to be as meaningful as possible. We can go over home exercises, discuss modifications as you adjust to this new lifestyle, answer questions, progress exercises, and/or go over specific techniques.
What does the therapist do during the session?
Your therapist will base it off of what you prefer by asking you beforehand. Some patients are uncomfortable with the idea of a PT constantly watching them do the exercises. To make them feel more comfortable therapists do the exercises with them while providing cues. Other patients prefer that their therapist watch and provide concurrent feedback on their form.
How will I be able to still make progress in physical therapy without coming into the clinic?
You and your physical therapist will work together to come up with an integrated plan to manage your symptoms at home. The online sessions will be a means of communication about how you are doing so far and what else you can be doing to improve your symptoms during this time.
I don’t have much equipment or space at home, is that a problem?
Not a problem at all! You would be surprised how effective these sessions can be with little to no equipment. Your physical therapist will work with what you have in your home. We can get creative with household items and body-weight exercises to ensure the session is still challenging and progressing you towards your goals. Your PT can also provide links to purchase equipment if needed.
I’m worried I’ll disturb my neighbors and roommates…
Your therapist will let you know ahead of time what your treatment will be, so you can decide the best date and time to avoid disturbing neighbors. Many sessions will not require exercises or stretches that make any noise at all!
What Technology is Required for Telehealth Physical and Occupational Therapy?
What technology do I need for a SPEAR LIVE telehealth appointment?
We have intentionally made this the easiest process and technology possible! At the time of your appointment, you will simply receive an email with a link to click. Make sure you use Google Chrome or Firefox as the browser!
What devices are supported by SPEAR LIVE?
Any device that has a camera, internal microphone and can run the Google Chrome or Firefox browser will work! This includes virtually all smartphones, tablets and desktop or laptop computers
Do I have to download a new app on my computer? I’m nervous I won’t be able to figure it out!
No worries—getting started is easy! You won’t need to download anything—simply follow the link in the email we send you! The video and audio will automatically launch in your browser.
How Much Does Telehealth Physical and Occupational Therapy Cost?
Will telehealth physical therapy be half my copay since I am only there for 30 minutes?
Most sessions are about 30 minutes long, regardless of the condition to be treated, and most insurances are covering 100% of the costs of these sessions!
What will be my out-of-pocket costs be for online, telehealth physical therapy?
Most likely: $0, if you have insurance! Give us a call or fill out our appointment request form and we will confirm. If you pay with cash, the cost is $75. And even if your insurance does not pay 100% of the costs, your cost will be just the same as coming in for an in-person visit (for example, your copay/coinsurance).
Is telehealth physical and occupational therapy covered by my insurance?
Yes! In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, most insurance companies have agreed to cover 100% of the costs of online, virtual telehealth physical therapy! We can confirm your copay information prior to scheduling if you call or use our online form (insert numbers and links.
How Does Telehealth Physical and Occupational Therapy Work?
How do I schedule a SPEAR LIVE telehealth physical therapy appointment?
To get scheduled, you can request an appointment online, or give us a call at 646-518-5554. One of our Care Coordinators will be in touch to get you started!
Will SPEAR LIVE work for me?
The answer is most likely, “Yes!” Reach out to us with more information and we’ll be able to further assist you.
I am in a different time zone—can you accommodate my availability?
Reach out to us with your preferred date and time and we will work to accommodate you!
How long does a typical session last? Is the appointment length different depending on the type of session (e.g. initial evaluation versus a follow-up appointment; body part)?
Most sessions are about 30 mins regardless of condition to be treated.
I only have “x” number of visits in my calendar year plan, should I wait for in-person appointments?
Definitely keep your insurance benefits in mind to maximize the amount of sessions. We can decide the optimal frequency after evaluating you on your first telehealth session. The most important thing is setting you up so you continue to progress and build off of all of previous treatments.
How long will you be offering telehealth physical and occupational therapy?
As long as is needed! We want to make sure we can continue to provide physical therapy services until we are able to continue with in-person visits. And even after that, many patients appreciate being able to maintain treatment remotely for numerous reasons, including business or leisure travel.
Let this also be a reminder that our offices are still open should you wish to make an appointment in the clinic. We are going above and beyond CDC guidelines and ask that all in-clinic patients do the same!