Physical Therapy: A Vital Treatment in COVID-19 Recovery

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, survivors have found physical therapy to be a necessary treatment on the path to recovery.

The prolonged symptoms of COVID-19 include fatigue, shortness of breath, decreased lung function and loss of muscle mass. Physical therapists can work patients to build a recovery plan that helps rebuild strength, regain mobility and return to daily tasks as they were prior to their illness. Recently we interviewed physical therapists from different parts of the country who explained why physical therapy is a helpful resource post COVID-19.

Tara Barrie explained how IVY Rehab started the “Healthy Lungs” program for patients recovering from the prolonged effects of COVID-19. The program aims for “better breathing and better mobility”. One of Barrie’s patients included a 25-year-old coworker who began her treatment through telehealth:

Kathy Prampin, of Athletico Physical Therapy, discussed how teaching patients how to monitor their vitals is necessary in understanding how much of themselves they can exert as they recover:

Lisa Crescenti, of FOX Rehabilitation, detailed how in-home therapy helped her 72-year-old patient, who was hospitalized with COVID-19, resume activities with his grandchildren and return to hobbies such as fishing and swimming.

Even as Americans and our healthcare system struggle to adjust to the challenges related to  COVID-19, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have chosen to move forward with Medicare payment cuts to dozens of specialties, including physical therapy, as part of the proposed rule for the 2021 Physician Fee Schedule. This severe cut will undermine patient access to care and may lead to negative consequences for seniors and our healthcare system costs overall.