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Virtual or Face to Face?

Posted on 3rd June 2020 by

It’s early days, and we’ve only just re-opened our doors for face to face appointments. We have followed all of our professional and Government guidance to both help us decide when to re-open and to create an environment that’s as safe as possible.

The guidance that we are working with is just that, guidance – so it’s open to individual interpretation, based on risks and needs. To see someone face to face, we have to rationalise that this is justified.

One question that we’ve asked ourselves, we get asked and that we’ve taken guidance on, is, what can we justify seeing face to face? Is what we offer essential?

On the surface, MSK physio isn’t essential, it doesn’t directly save lives. However, 10 weeks of lockdown, home working, stress, home schooling, workout videos, less activity (or more activity than used to) is certainly taking it’s toll on many people.

The great news is, that there is so much we can do through a virtual online appointment. You’d be surprised! We’ve had great feedback from our online consultations and this will continue to be our first line of approach. You can read more about virtual consultations here.

However, there are instances where a face to face appointment is justified. Factors we consider may include:

  • The severity of the condition and symptoms. Some people are in absolute agony, meaning they are distressed, worried and can’t go about their day.
  • Longstanding conditions that rely on help and support from physio’s, that are experiencing physical (and psychological) deterioration without that support.
  • Individual urgency and priority. This is subjective, but if your livelihood or dependents rely on you being able to move and function physically, getting help may be an urgent priority.
  • Effects on level of function and independence.
  • Potential or actual deterioration and increasing disability
  • Social, emotional and economic factors that are of high priority or urgency to the patient e.g. return to work, family commitments.

So many people rely on exercise to help them not only physically but also mentally. If an injury is stopping people from being active or getting out to exercise, this can have an increasingly big impact on:

  • Mental health (low mood, stress and anxiety)
  • General mobility, fitness and health
  • Maintaining or reducing weight
  • Managing long standing health conditions
  • Preventing certain health conditions
  • Relationships and self care
  • Confidence¬†
  • Independence (to care for ourselves, dependent and our home)

Coupled with the fact that NHS MSK Physiotherapy care has reduced dramatically (or even completely stopped in some areas), people are reluctant to seek help from their GP and scheduled orthopaedic surgeries and tests such as scans have been postponed, there really is a huge gap in care to be filled.

On top of all this, we have people who need rehabilitation after having coronavirus or have been discharged from NHS care with little or no follow up.

We fully appreciate and understand that many people will not feel ready or indeed need to come and see us at the clinic yet. We just want to reassure you that, if you have a need that is justified, we will guide you through the most appropriate pathway of care.

If you have any questions or would like to know more, please don’t hesitate in getting in touch.