CHICAGO (CBS) — During the COVID-19 pandemic, health care providers had to come up with new ways to see patients in need.
At the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, telehealth appointments are helping patient continue therapy so they can stay on the road to recovery.
Andre Rice was severely injured while skydiving. Rice was taking part in his 375th jump in August 2018, when there was a parachute mishap at 12,000 feet.
“The hard opening of the parachute broke my pelvis, in the front,” Rice told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot. “It’s called an open book fracture.”
Rice also had internal bleeding and a fractured sacrum.
“Which is probably the worst part of it, because that’s where all the nerves come down out of the spine,” he said. “The big fear there was I would have some paralysis, but I didn’t.”
After surgery, Rice spent two months in a wheelchair. A few months later, he started physical therapy at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, located on the former site of CBS 2’s old headquarters in Streeterville.
Rice is about 85 percent recovered and can walk now. But he didn’t want the Covid-19 pandemic to get in the way of his recovery.
“Nothing is better than having a professional eye keep an eye on you,” Rice said.
Rice is taking part in the facility’s telehealth physical therapy program. He sees physical therapist Colleen Hanlon.
“Once we open the treatment room, it’s just similar to bringing them into a treatment room, here in the clinic,” Hanlon said. “We will identify an exercise, play video of the exercise, and come back to the screen and have the patient perform that exercise.”
Rice said he is able to look at the exercises in real time and perform them, and Hanlon is able to tell you if you’re doing them properly.
“She can see exactly what I’m doing,” Rice said. “She can tell me, move a little bit to the left, move a little bit to the right, put your leg further behind you, so it’s invaluable.”
Rice said having consistency in his physical therapy, through telehealth, is the key to a full recovery.
Each patient can also access their own personalized exercise program via a link, to repeat their physical therapy session as needed.