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Published in: HSS Journal ® 1/2020

Open Access 01-11-2020 | Coronavirus | Response To COVID-19 / Original Article

Delivering Telerehabilitation to COVID-19 Inpatients:A Retrospective Chart Review Suggests It Is a Viable Option

Authors: Kelsey Rosen, PT, DPT, Monika Patel, PT, DPT, Cecelia Lawrence, PT, Brianne Mooney, PT, DPT

Published in: HSS Journal ® | Special Issue 1/2020

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Abstract

Background

Guidelines for physical therapy management of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 recommend limiting physical therapists’ contact with patients when possible. Telehealth has been viewed as “electronic personal protective equipment” during the COVID-19 pandemic; although telerehabilitation has been shown to be effective with outpatients, it is unknown whether it is a viable option for hospitalized patients.

Purpose

Our facility developed an algorithm for the use of a physical therapy telerehabilitation program for inpatients with COVID-19. We sought to investigate the safety and viability of the program.

Methods

We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients admitted with a diagnosis of COVID-19 who received either telerehabilitation only or a combination of telerehabilitation and in-person rehabilitation. Based on the algorithm, COVID-19 inpatients were selected to receive telerehabilitation if they could ambulate independently, could use technology, had stable vital signs, required minimal supplemental oxygen, and were cognitively intact. We analyzed data of inpatients who received telerehabilitation only, which included patient education, therapeutic exercises, and breathing techniques.

Results

Of 33 COVID-19 inpatients who received telerehabilitation, in-person rehabilitation, or a combination of the two, 12 patients received telerehabilitation only (age range, 33 to 65 years; all but one male). They demonstrated independence with their individualized home exercise programs in one to two sessions, did not require an in-person rehabilitation consultation, did not require increased oxygen, experienced no exacerbation of symptoms, and were discharged home.

Conclusions

Inpatient telerehabilitation appears to be a viable option for selected hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and may be a safe way of delivering inpatient rehabilitation to isolated or at-risk populations. At our hospital, the use of inpatient telerehabilitation reduced staff exposure while providing important education and services to patients. To our knowledge, no studies have investigated the use of telerehabilitation for hospitalized patients, including those with COVID-19. Our findings suggest that this innovative approach warrants further study.
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Metadata
Title
Delivering Telerehabilitation to COVID-19 Inpatients:A Retrospective Chart Review Suggests It Is a Viable Option
Authors
Kelsey Rosen, PT, DPT
Monika Patel, PT, DPT
Cecelia Lawrence, PT
Brianne Mooney, PT, DPT
Publication date
01-11-2020
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
HSS Journal ® / Issue Special Issue 1/2020
Print ISSN: 1556-3316
Electronic ISSN: 1556-3324
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11420-020-09774-4

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