TELEHEALTH NOTE DURING COVID-19
TELEHEALTH NOTE DURING COVID-19
The coronavirus COVID-19 has drastically affected all of us globally. It has impacted our health, our daily activities, our finances, businesses, and families. COVID-19 does not play favourites. It has no impartiality, affecting the elderly and even the most fittest athletes. It can barely be noticeable in some people yet show severe compromise in others. The coronavirus can attack all bodily systems, but mostly affects the lower respiratory tract and has been seen to affect the cardiac system. The lungs can be compromised and the myocardial damage is similar to a heart attack. This can have lasting effects after the patient recovers. The tissues of the lungs are very delicate and need time to heal after the virus resolves. Thus rehabilitation is important for recovery.
In Hong Kong, Medical Doctors recently reported the findings of the first follow-up clinics of the recovered Covid-19 patients(1) (March 13, 2020). They suppose that some of the recovered patients have lost between 20% to 30% of their previous lung function(1).
Considering the compromise of the lungs and possible myocardial damage, rehab treatment is important in recovery. As we do not know at which point a person is no longer contagious, many persons who were either self-isolated or discharged home from hospital still need a safe way to receive rehabilitation. At this time, the safest way to treat post COVID-19 patients is through telehealth.
Telehealth is an effective means of delivering rehabilitation. A systemic review and meta-analysis performed in 2016 in New Zealand reported that telehealth delivery of cardiac rehabilitation is as good or better than center based models or usual care(2). In the study, those who received telehealth based rehab performed statistically better in markers such as VO2 Max, than the center-based cohort at 1.5 and 7.2 years follow-up(2). Telehealth delivery also improved exercise adherence with patients participating in their program with higher frequency. The authors propose that the individualized treatment and close monitoring of the telehealth model allowed the participants to feel more confident to perform their treatment rehab. This individualized aspect can be beneficial for those recovering from COVID-19 as well as coping with the psychological and physical stress of the virus. Telehealth is a proven and highly-effective form of modality to administer pulmonary rehabilitation(3)as well.
For those recovering from the effects of the COVID-19, we at Active Stride Therapy can offer an individualized Physiotherapy rehab program. Our Physiotherapy program will instruct on breathing exercises, cardiac exercises, progressive active range of motion exercises, monitoring and patient education. We will use sound and professional judgement during your rehabilitation program through our telehealth platform.
Please contact us for any questions or concerns.
1. South China Morning Post. https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3074988/coronavirus-some-recovered-patients-may-have
2. Telehealth cardiac rehabilitation, https://heart.bmj.com/content/102/15/1183
3. Chronic Respiratory Disease. 2018;15(1):41-47