TELE-REHAB PHYSIOTHERAPY

Westcoast SCI Tele-Rehabilitation, personalized online Physiotherapy and Kinesiology sessions from the comfort of your own home.
Tele-Rehab Online Physiotherapy Appointment

What is Tele-Rehab Physiotherapy?

Westcoast SCI offers a comprehensive tele-health, virtual physical rehabilitation solution across British Columbia. Get seamlessly connected to the right physiotherapist to deliver your quality care. Your Tele-Rehabilitation physiotherapist will conduct comprehensive assessments, diagnostics, rehabilitation treatment planning and personalized video-based exercise programs.

We also accept ICBC and WSBC clients for virtual physiotherapy sessions.

What’s the difference between between in-person Physiotherapy and Tele-Rehab?

In person physiotherapy requires the client to physically come into our clinic to receive their physical therapy care. Tele-Rehab (also known as virtual physiotherapy, online physiotherapy, telehealth, teletherapy or telerehabilitation) involves the client logging onto a secure website and receiving their physiotherapy care over video conferencing software from the comfort of their home.

Does Tele-Rehab work?

Just as many doctors are now offering telehealth (virtual visits with their physician), physiotherapists are also providing online physiotherapy. Many of the benefits of in person treatment are still realized in a virtual session. For example, patient education is a big part of a physiotherapists role. We find that many clients actually feel more comfortable talking about their concerns from the comfort of their own home and share more information. The more information a patient shares, the better understanding the physiotherapist has of the situation and is better equipped to help find a solution that will work.

The advancements with video conferencing technology allows your physiotherapist to perform movement analysis and examinations, just as they would if you were in the clinic. In addition, your physical therapist can also teach and guide you through your therapeutic exercises over the internet, just as they would if you were in front of them.

Tele-Rehab Physiotherapy can be used to treat many of the same conditions that would otherwise be treated in person. These include: vestibular rehabilitation, sports injuries, exercise programming, post operative recovery, self joint mobilizations, pelvic floor rehabilitation, active rehab and many more.

We find that once a patient is open to the opportunity and tries tele-rehabilitation out for themselves, many of the clients actually prefer tele-rehab because of the convenience of it and participate in both face-to-face care and online physiotherapy as part of their treatment plan. For the most part, patient satisfaction is high and our clients who participate in telerehabilitation reach their functional outcomes just as much as our clients who come for in-person physiotherapy.

How the Virtual Appointments work:

Step 1: Make sure you’re good to go

  • Log onto your Jane account on your computer or laptop for optimal experience, please make sure you are using a recent version of Chrome or Firefox

  • You can find the link to join your Online Appointment in the appointment reminder email

  • Check you internet connection, you will need a speed of 15Mbps or higher

  • Make sure you are somewhere private

  • The electronic audio and video communication will be encrypted in transit for your security and privacy and no audio or video will be recorded or stored

Step 2: Join video call by pressing ‘begin’ located in the upcoming appointments tab in Jane

Step 3: Provide us with your consent to proceed

Frequently Asked Tele-Rehabilitation Questions

Why should I do virtual physiotherapy instead of in-person physiotherapy?

Given the current situation with COVID-19, online physiotherapy (tele-rehab physiotherapy for patients) is a great option for those individuals who feel more comfortable staying at home rather than coming into a physiotherapy clinic. 

Although we implement the strictest protocols (above and beyond the guidelines imposed by our British Columbia Public Health Officials) of disinfecting, staggering appointments, wearing masks and screening, our clients can still receive physiotherapy care services without leaving their homes.

1. Ensures safety of the individual

Individuals with underlying health conditions, who are immunocompromised, or who are elderly can also benefit from our telerehabilitation services in the comfort and safety of their own homes.

Visiting hospitals or clinics at this time for consultations puts a person at higher risk for a virus infection. COVID-19 infection has been shown to be more dangerous and even deadly to those who have diabetes, hypertension, kidney, or lung problems. 

Another benefit of online physiotherapy is that we get to see your home environment. This can be extremely beneficial for surgical patients. For example, we can help assess the safety of your home equipment, educate you on how to use your home equipment, educate you about your surgery, teach you how to navigate your home safely and the safest place to perform exercises such as vestibular rehabilitation or other manual therapies in your home.

2. Ensures safety from the environment

For non-surgical patients, allowing us “into your home,” virtually can help us create the most efficient and beneficial home exercise program tailored specifically for you and your home set up. Sometimes, you won’t realize that we can use everyday items in your home and adapt them into exercise equipment. A staircase, door frame, wall, stool, laundry detergent jug, water bottle, etc. can make great at-home exercise equipment.

If you’re unsure if your home technology (computer and internet connection) is adequate for our virtual platform or are unsure if tele-rehab physiotherapy is right for you, we can set up a no-charge 15-minute consultation with a registered physiotherapist. This consultation will help guide you through the virtual platform and make sure the right quality care is provided. We will also discuss if your specific conditions can be treated with physiotherapy.

3. Reaches more patients

Virtual physiotherapy can reach more patients, especially in far-flung rural areas. While rural areas have their own hospitals and clinics, urban areas have more centers, hospitals, or offices for specific care requirements. However, these urban areas are also a busier hub for virus transmission.

4. Less time-consuming

Besides delivering better services and newer models of care in telehealth, this virtual consultation is less time-consuming for the patient. Most patients have difficulty in mobilization and getting ready for clinic visits is an extra unwelcome effort.

5. Cuts costs

Most tele-rehab patients have mobility problems. Aside from these, there are also costs on travel, parking, and taking time off work. Some patients also leave their kids at childcare, adding to the costs. While these costs may seem small, these add up over time.

Worse, some areas are too far that patients need to travel for hours and even stay at a hotel for an early appointment. Some patients skip consultation and rehab altogether because of high costs, resulting in undesired outcomes.

6. Improves healthcare services

With telehealth, physiotherapists are required to immediately assess acute conditions and note which situations require acute care visits to the ER. The high-quality standards of practice in healthcare also improved as patients are more motivated to regularly seek consultations, resulting in improved outcome measures and patient satisfaction.

Is tele-rehab effective?

Yes, it is. A Med-Internet-Res study showed that tele-rehab is as effective as the traditional methods (in-person visit, in-person encounter, or in-person care) of delivery. In this study, treatments delivered by tele-rehab or telemedicine are equivalent to in-person sessions of patients seeking treatments at the physiotherapist’s office. 

Because of the outbreak of COVID-19, physiotherapists have turned to telemedicine or tele-rehab physiotherapy, virtual care, or virtual therapy treatment for its services. This remote setup allows for safe assessment of patient outcomes and treatments through review, monitoring, and intervention.

How quickly does online physiotherapy work?

Online physiotherapy depends on your commitment to your treatment plan. During your first initial assessment with your registered physiotherapist (on our video conference platform), your therapist will create a treatment plan for usual care (regular) on a timeline to reach your desired clinical outcomes. 

This plan will detail what commitment will be required from you. It may include activity modifications, a home exercise program, and injury management for your diagnosis.

Online physiotherapy depends on your commitment to your treatment plan. During your first initial assessment with your registered physiotherapist (on our video conference platform), your therapist will create a treatment plan for usual care (regular) on a timeline to reach your desired clinical outcomes. 

This plan will detail what commitment will be required from you. It may include activity modifications, a home exercise program, and injury management for your diagnosis. 

Activity modifications

Some modifications in activity include restricting movement, and some include encouraging it. Those restricting movements include disallowing bending or lifting heavy objects with a certain weight limit. Some movements which are usually harmful are striking, running, or those requiring force.

Athletes need to recover fast from any sports injury or injury diagnosis. Physiotherapists are required to be trained in determining which types of movements could put a strain on the muscles or cause a running injury. 

For example, running can be harmful if not done correctly. Professional running assessments evaluate your running and recommend areas for improvement. 

Home exercise program

Exercises should be done safely; whether strengthening of muscles, retention of muscle mass, or improvement of joint mobilization.

A reliable physiotherapist demonstrates and provides exercise prescription for active rehabilitation (physical therapy, vestibular rehabilitation, postoperative recovery exercises, exercise programming). Also, tips on what to watch out for before, during, and after exercises are important after evaluation and analysis.

For example, some exercises require a person to take their blood pressure first. During the exercise, the person must monitor for any remarkable knee pain, pelvic floor pain, or other signs of injury diagnosis. Physiotherapists are also advising persons to evaluate their bodies on a specific time after the exercise.

Injury management

Being committed to a care plan without the fuss, travel, or additional cost is desirable to patients. Recovery is generally faster when a patient is compliant with their care plan. Similarly, companies put a value on safe functional recovery and effective occupational therapy for staff or team members. Time and work lost because of a workplace injury or sport injury are costly. 

It’s comparable to learning a new subject in school: if you do your homework regularly and stay focused on your goal, you’ll achieve results much quicker than if you don’t commit to the plan and expect results to occur spontaneously.

How many times a week should I do virtual physiotherapy?

Again, this will be addressed with your physiotherapist after you’ve booked your initial assessment and gone over your personalized treatment plan. Based on your goals and daily life commitments, your physical therapist will help you find the best way to achieve the results you desire through evaluation and analysis.

It depends on how severe your injury/ailment is (if you’re seeking our help for injury treatments), how many other commitments you have, if you work, have children, etc. For example, a single mother of three who has a sprained ankle, whose children are all homeschooled vs. a retiree who just had a total knee replacement, will have a very different intervention plan and therefore will be seen more or less often by their physiotherapist. 

Some forms of commitment therapies are crucial to patients. These evidence-based treatments encourage patients to accept and commit to their treatments or manual therapies, speeding up improvements in mobility.

How do I know if tele-rehab physiotherapy is working?

The telltale sign that your active rehab sessions are working is that you’ll start feeling better, stronger, and become more confident. You’ll also return to the things that you love. Or perhaps, you may notice yourself as being more excited as you do more things that you like. The speed and status of functional outcomes on telerehabilitation in patients vary as much as individuals do. 

Most bodies will recover more rapidly than others by doing more. In physical therapy you train your body to heal through various movements designed to regain and restore comfortable movement.

Usually, a physical therapist will design a plan of care that is safe and effective. Depending on how much the patient can tolerate, the physiotherapist will start with a series of exercises and evaluate its preliminary effectiveness. If the patient is responding well, the exercise is maintained, increased or adjusted as needed.

Typically, your initial assessment will allow your physical therapist to create a plan of care and provide you with an analysis and the best strategies to help. The chances of reaching your desired outcome in one physiotherapy session are extremely rare.

Your physiotherapist will usually want to have several follow up sessions to make sure you’re on track, answer your questions, and progress you through your plan until you’ve reached your goals or desired impact.

Typically, with guidance from your online physiotherapist, you should notice improvements after a few sessions. Again, it really depends on the reason you’re seeing if you’re seeking help from a registered physiotherapist. If you’ve suffered from a minor sprained knee playing soccer, versus you were in a serious car accident and suffered a concussion, your timeline of recovery will vary greatly.

Also, seeking a physiotherapist if you’re unsure of the extent of the injury is highly recommended. Firstly, physiotherapists know what to ask and look for, even in some seemingly mild cases where you have to go to the ER urgently.

Secondly, some injuries can become worse off when not treated properly. The healing may not be right, or you may be doing the exercise wrong. Physical therapists provide rehabilitation services on how to exercise safely, such as clinical pilates and for those who like running — a thorough running assessment. The physiotherapist will also know if you need to be referred to surgery or if you need to continue treatment.

For the sprained knee, you’ll likely notice things are starting to heal rather quickly, and walking becomes easier. However, for the car accident victim who suffered a concussion and can’t tolerate some stimulus like brightness, it may take several weeks or months before he or she can return to work. In both cases, improvements will come at varied efforts and at different time intervals.

What should I do after an online physiotherapy session?

This will be discussed during your telemedicine or telerehabilitation sessions with your registered physiotherapist. Your plan of care will detail how to manage and treat your symptoms, how often to practice your home exercise program, and what to do after your online physiotherapy sessions (and between appointments). 

Things such as resting and relaxing, applying heat or ice, and stretching are very common practice after your physiotherapy sessions and therapeutic exercises.

Depending on what you need, a virtual physiotherapist will assess your injury and your body part, which requires care. Additionally, your therapist will want to look at your overall function. We’ve all heard the song: “the hip bone is connected to the knee bone”. Your body does not work independently of each body part, so we will likely need to look “up and down stream” from the injured area. As a plus, tele-rehab also scans the environment you’d be healing in. 

The goal is patient safety. Some parts of the house may require safety tweaks to lessen accidental hazards, especially for cancer patients at risk for injury or falls. Most of them have problems with muscle weakness, a side effect of chemotherapy. Also, some items in the home may be used for therapeutic exercises too.

Who are the Westcoast SCI Physiotherapists?

Our licensed physiotherapists have relevant experience in various orthopaedic conditions and treatments. Most have experience in pediatrics, geriatrics, women’s health and athletes (if you need health information on athletic taping, dry needling, concussion, vertigo, intramuscular stimulation (IMS), Disability, Overall Health and Wellness, running, sports injury, etc.).

To learn more about our physiotherapists, take a look at their bios on our Team page.

Do I need a doctor's referral?

No, most insurance providers do not require a doctor’s note for tele-rehab physiotherapy. However, for WorkSafe BC, you must visit with your doctor prior to your first appointment.

Shouldn't I see a physiotherapist in person?

Virtual / Tele-Rehab Physiotherapy is successful in many if not all cases we’ve seen so far. When you book your appointment with us, we focus our attention on communication, education, compassion, and exercise to help you with your physiotherapy needs. 

If you’re unsure, please book a No Charge 15 minute consultation with a physiotherapist who can help determine your best approach.

Can I use my extended health benefits?

Many insurance providers are on board with tele-rehab physiotherapy, and we will continue to directly bill your insurance provider. However, please contact your benefits provider first to be certain.

I don't have extended health benefits, can I still see a physiotherapist?

Of course!

Do you accept ICBC or WSBC clients?

Absolutely. ICBC and WorkSafe clients are covered for virtual physiotherapy sessions.

Can the Tele-Rehabilitation physiotherapists write ICBC and WCB medical reports?

Yes (we do all the time).

Can I choose my own physiotherapist?

Yes. For a list of Westcoast SCI’s physiotherapists and hours of operation, click here.

Do you require access to my medical records?

No. Your physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment, which includes asking questions regarding your medical history and current situation. 

Your medical history is vital. Some medications and treatments work better when you’ve been properly interviewed and assessed. For patient safety, physiotherapists conduct a comprehensive patient assessment to decrease the risk for injury or medication interactions.

Do I need to prepare anything for my appointment?
  1. Make sure you have a good internet connection. 
  2. Virtual physiotherapy works best on a laptop or desktop computer but not 100% necessary.
  3. Make sure you have some space to move around.
  4. Wear appropriate clothing (something you feel comfortable exercising in).
  5. Make sure you’re in a private setting. Your physiotherapist may ask you some personal questions, which you wouldn’t want others to overhear.
How quickly can I get an appointment?

You can get an appointment either the same day or the next day. Please email info@westcoastsci.com or use our website to book online.

How much time does an initial assessment take?

An initial assessment will ideally take 60 minutes. However, we also offer a 45-minute assessment. The more time the physiotherapist has to go through a detailed history, the better your results. The reason is that your therapist will have a better understanding of how you got to your unique situation.

Also, your therapist will have more time to look at your movements (or lack thereof) and give you better guidance regarding setting up a plan of care.

Can I use the Tele-Rehabilitation service on my smartphone?

Yes, you can join the physical therapy appointment online on your smartphone. It works best on an Android mobile device at this time. For best results, use a laptop or desktop computer with Chrome browser.

Can I request to see the same physiotherapist every time?

Yes. On your call, your physical therapist will develop the best plan of care unique to you. Usually, that involves working with the same therapist for the entire plan. However, if you have scheduling conflicts, working with two therapists could be an option.

Don’t worry about talking with more than one therapist. The other therapist will thoroughly assess you, too and study your consultations (previous observation and analysis of the other therapist).

I would prefer to see a female therapist, is that ok?

Absolutely! We have a team consisting of both female and male therapists. See our list of therapists here.

Can the Westcoast SCI Tele-Rehabilitation virtual physiotherapists communicate with other members of my healthcare team?

Yes, if you give us consent and the contact information and communication of your other healthcare providers. We will typically send your doctor an initial assessment report as well as a discharge report. In some cases, where your condition dramatically changes in the middle of our treatment plan, we may send your doctor a progress report. Additionally, if we feel you require further medical imaging or medical consultation, we will send a note to your doctor.

How secure is my information?t

All our information and communication technologies, including telehealth portal (video conference), are certified to follow the strict guidelines of the PIPA (Personal Information Protection Act).