The havoc visited us by the pandemic has far-reaching tentacles including the journey to physical convalescence. According to Cindy Binkley, practice administrator at Toledo-based NOMS CPW Healthcare, their physical therapists (PTs) are seeing many patients no-longer-contagious, but still recovering from COVID.
“Patients who required hospitalization or extended bed rest, often are left with physical deconditioning including muscular atrophy, weakness, fatigue, lack of endurance, and pain,” offered Binkley. “Our goal is to get people who’ve had severe cases of COVID back to a high quality of life that includes a fulsome return to work and play,” she added.
For some very unfortunate “long haulers,” the side effects of the virus can be even more serious such as a stroke. And in those cases, physical therapists can drastically improve function and performance. Those with pre-existing comorbidities like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity also tend to have more complications and a greater need for physical rehabilitation.
PT can provide a safe, sanitary, socially-distanced environment to overcome these deficits in order to regain a higher quality of life and full independence. All therapists properly wear masks and every piece of equipment is thoroughly disinfected before each use.
Treatments are highly patient-specific and may include joint range-of-motion therapy, aerobic exercise, walking tolerance, balance training, re-education on proper breathing, and progressive strength training.
For best results and reduced chances of hospital readmission, Binkley strongly suggests PT be introduced immediately following hospital discharge. “Our therapists have extensively researched the effects of COVID-19 and it is clear that inactivity is the enemy; it only allows the side effects to progress. Being proactive and in a controlled, science-based program is the key to best patient outcomes.”
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