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The challenges of providing physical therapy during a pandemic haven't escaped the media's attention. Here are six stories on how the profession is responding — and one exploration of what could soon be a huge issue for PTs and PTAs.

Media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has ranged from personal stories of individual courage and loss to big-data analyses of worldwide effects on the economy and other factors. And some of that coverage focused on physical therapy.

Here a few recent stories you may have missed — six that highlight the profession's response to the health emergency, and a seventh on what may become one of the profession's biggest challenges in the near future.

An overview of how the profession is responding to the pandemic so far.
From MedPage Today, this article focuses mostly on the outpatient setting to look at the challenges faced by PTs and the possibility of telehealth as an important tool in meeting those challenges. APTA Senior Payment Specialist Alice Bell, PT, DPT, provides the big-picture view, while APTA member Karen Litzy, PT, DPT, describes her personal experiences transitioning to telehealth.

PTs share firsthand experience of how COVID-19 has affected hospital physical therapy.
What's it like to suddenly find yourself working with patients hospitalized with COVID-19? It can be scary, according to these PTs, but those fears must be overcome.

An exploration of physical therapy's fit with telehealth.
This article, from NextAvenue, focuses on Mary Milhay, from Cleveland, Ohio, who has been working with her physical therapist via telehealth to manage her knee osteoarthritis. Author Kelly James interviews several PTs who discuss the components of effective delivery of physical therapy through telehealth.

A look at how injured elite athletes are engaging in rehab.
The Washington Post provides a glimpse at telehealth approaches being taken to keep athletes such as Indiana University linebacker Thomas Allen on the road to recovery. What are the possible effects of no access to sophisticated training equipment and unsupervised exercise?

The special challenges faced by school-based PTs.
Needs are high for the services of school PTs — but, unfortunately, sometimes access to technology is low, and the nature of children's needs can't always be met sufficiently through telehealth. But PTs and other school-based therapists are finding ways to provide as much care as possible.

Prenatal care during a pandemic.
In the midst of social distancing and general wariness about venturing outside of the home, providers are finding ways to continue to serve expectant mothers. This story from the Today Show looks at how several professionals — including a PT — are using telehealth to continue care.

What happens after the ICU?
While not specifically about physical therapy and the pandemic, a valuable read nonetheless: a dive into the physical and cognitive challenges faced by patients being removed from ventilators and leaving the ICU. Experts and the patients themselves discuss post-intensive care syndrome and provide insight into what could well be a significant challenge for PTs in the coming months.

Visit APTA's Coronavirus webpage for more information and updates.


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