Pediatric therapy practice goes online amid COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 2:04 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 13:51:45-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Businesses and organizations are feeling the strains of shutting down and finding their new normal. This week, Governor Andy Beshear announced that occupational therapy and physical therapy clinics would have to close.

At Marshall Pediatric Therapy’s locations in Lexington, Nicholasville, and Georgetown, children would normally take advantage of the toys, gym equipment, and private counseling rooms. Now though, they’re getting help through the computer.

”We worked hard and fast and we have been the last several weeks preparing for this, knowing that it was likely coming,” said Pam Marshall, Executive Director of Marshall Pediatric Therapy. “Our staff did a tremendous job. We were able to see 85 visits and children [Thursday], our first day online.”

The practice’s therapists are helping patients through telehealth, or over video conferencing. It was a quick change for them and the 900 families they serve.

The practice offers physical, occupational and speech therapy to children, along with counseling. It’s been an adjustment losing in-person contact. Some parents say they were nervous at first, but quickly saw the benefit.

”It’s been fantastic for us to be able to continue, that we’re not having to go on this big hold where we might lose some of the skills that we’ve been gaining,” said Jessica Perkins. Her six-year-old daughter Elyse is a patient.

“It’s very important for development to continue during this time, especially if we are all at home for way longer than we can imagine or think,” said Marshall.

Marshall says going online was already one of their goals for this year, so that helped them be ready for shutdowns. She also says the state’s telehealth parity law opened more doors, since telehealth services are allowed to be paid and reimbursed the same as if it were an in-person session.

”I can see how now this is going to open up a whole new realm of our practice and encourage families to try it,” she said. “Encourage families that they can feel supported in it, that parents can learn how to help their children while at home or while in a rural area, not having access to services.”

Marshall says the practice is willing to help any child that needs its services right now. You can learn more on their website.