Glen Sather Clinic provides vital "face-to-face" care for patients amid COVID-19

New virtual rehabilitation sessions are helping Albertans manage conditions and injuries from home

Amanda Anderson - 02 April 2020

At a time when physical distancing has become mandatory across Canada, the University of Alberta’s Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic has turned to remote technology to help patients access vital rehabilitation services.

For the athlete recovering from an ACL injury, or the senior who had a new knee replacement, physical therapy is still very important to keep up so clients can avoid further problems later. A newly implemented option for virtual appointments will provide patients with "face-to-face" care even with the shutdown of all non-essential physiotherapy services in Alberta.

"While some questions or concerns that patients have during this time can be addressed via email or phone, certain aspects of the assessment and treatment process are best done with a visual medium like our telerehabilitation sessions," said Elizabeth Clark, physiotherapist at clinic. 

Clark says that virtual sessions can hold a lot of benefit, especially when it comes to important information about how to manage various conditions at home.

"Patients looking for at-home exercises and education around managing their condition will benefit from our remote appointments. Our physiotherapists will conduct a detailed history of the injury or condition and complete the required movement exam on video in order to provide recommendations based on the patients’ specific needs—much the same as an in-person appointment."

After an assessment or follow-up reassessment, the physiotherapist will discuss the injury in detail with the patient, including the anatomy involved, any contributing factors related to the injury and how to adjust activity levels moving forward. 

Physiotherapists will also go through and demonstrate any recommended exercises and ensure that the patient understands how to complete the movements.

While the clinic can continue treatment and appropriate progression programs for their current patients via remote appointments, Clark said that new patients can also contact the clinic for assistance.

"Any change in a person’s regular routine can be cause for new injuries. Physical distancing has brought many changes to our regular routines—whether that be having to work from a less than ideal work station at home or taking up a new form of activity to try to remain active. We can provide assessments and treatment to help with the transition."

The clinic will also continue to help people with general sprains and strains, and injuries related to WCB claims and motor vehicle accidents. Therapists and physicians can also provide recommendations for post-operative rehabilitation programs.

For those looking to access virtual appointments, the clinic is booking assessment and treatment sessions by phone at 780-407-5160. 

"We pride ourselves in providing quality, evidence-based rehabilitation and taking our time with clients to give them the care that they need. This same approach will carry forward into our telerehabilitation services," says Clark.

"We look forward to implementing this new tool for our patients."

For more information about how the Glen Sather Clinic is responding to COVID-19, visit the website.