This is Jody. She is a physiotherapist in Northeastern Ontario.
“Working during a pandemic has been different. Unlike a lot of people I know, I’m not working from home. We’ve been doing a lot of preparing – a lot of surge and capacity planning.
We developed an outreach program because we’ve seen people admitted into the hospital where there are gaps in services – such a lack of staffing in our more rural areas.
Blind River is the “hub,” covering 160 km along the Trans-Canada highway. Other areas have even less access to services so we’re trying to see what we can do to support people in their homes. Before this, we knew there were issues with accessibility and now even more so with people in isolation. I’m trying to reach out to the vulnerable and see how I can get them engaged.
Personally, I’m now providing virtual care through the OTN platform. It was a huge learning curve, both for myself and my patients. In the North, there are very spotty internet services, so this can create issues. For example, when I’m trying to have a session with a patient, either of us can experience technical difficulties. Sometimes there’s confusion when I show exercises, such as mixing up left leg and right leg, but it does give us a good laugh. I also do a lot of physio with my hands, so that’s been very different. Luckily, I do a lot of education, which I can do over the screen. For my patients who do not have Internet, I have to follow up with them through the phone.
Nothing is like it used to be. I’m wearing scrubs now for the first time in my career, I’ve never worn them before!
It’s become a new normal. My new term is “currently.” I often say, “currently, this is what we’re doing,” because anything can change every day. Everyday, I look forward to physically practicing as a physiotherapist once again.”