Designed to educate and motivate, Spear’s #LetsKeepMoving Blog is our official stream of fitness tips, exercise advice, and healthy lifestyle inspiration. Our articles and features are written and produced in direct partnership with our physical and occupational therapists! Disclaimer
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!