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Calgary, AB T2M 0L6

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Telehealth & Virtual Appointments

Physiotherapy | Lactation and Breastfeeding Support | Mental Health

What to Expect

Virtual appointments and telehealth have been around for many years, but recent events have made them the primary way of accessing help from one’s home. If you are familiar with physiotherapy, lactation/breastfeeding, and mental health appointments, you may be wondering how they can be delivered virtually, and what that entails.

At Vida Health & Wellness, we use a secure and encrypted video software called Embodia for all virtual appointments. You can expect to receive a link to your appointment via e-mail. Embodia uses the Zoom Health platform to host the appointments. This is different from the regular Zoom platform and it complies with HIPAA and PIPEDA (health privacy legislation). You will need to download the Zoom program onto your phone, tablet, or computer. There is no cost to you for using Embodia or Zoom.

From there, you will receive a consent form and an intake form if you are new to our clinic, and you will connect with either Mercedes, Amber, or Christine at your scheduled appointment time. We will be able to see you and you will be able to see us. The first part of the appointment is exactly the same as in the clinic: we will ask you questions to understand your specific needs and how we can help. It is a live, two-way communication just like a phone call, Skype, or FaceTime. This means that you can ask questions and get answers in real time.

For physiotherapy and breastfeeding support, where assessments are typically hands-on, we may ask you to move the camera or yourself in order to see. It may be a good idea to have a partner or friend to hold the camera if your appointment includes a baby. If we need to see your whole body (doing a squat, for example), it is recommended to use a laptop or to prop up your phone or tablet. For mental health and occupational therapy appointments, this is less applicable.

A similar approach is used for the treatment part of your appointment. In the clinic, we use education, exercises, and hands-on care. The virtual appointment is only different in that we teach you how to do the hands-on aspects. Many people find this to be more helpful because they can manage their condition themselves, learning what to do and how to do it. You know your body and yourself best; our aim is to share our knowledge and techniques with you so that you can succeed.

The Alberta physiotherapy regulatory college has a helpful resource on telehealth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Technical Questions & Software

We use Embodia for telehealth and virtual appointments for physiotherapy, breastfeeding support, and mental health support. Embodia is the program that we also use to share exercise videos and handouts.

Embodia is a Canadian company that has partnered with Zoom Health to allow us to offer virtual appointments that are compliant with health and privacy legislations.

Privacy and confidentiality are top priorities, especially online. The data transmitted during your appointment is encrypted, and the audio and video are never recorded or stored. We make notes about your appointment in your chart, the same as for in-clinic visits. Our telehealth protocols meet the requirements of Canadian privacy legislation and provincial health care legislation.

The telehealth or virtual appointment does require downloading an app called Zoom. You may already be familiar with Zoom from your work or other companies. If you already have Zoom installed on your computer, phone, or tablet, there is no need to download anything else. The program is similar to Skype.

To download the Zoom client, click here.

About the Appointment/How Does it Work?

You may be surprised to learn that virtual appointments are not only possible but effective. A lot of what we do as physiotherapists and occupational therapists is listening, problem solving, observing, and teaching. Our professions are built on adapting the task to the situation, so for us to provide excellent care without being in the same room is very much realistic.

And we are certainly not the only ones. Telehealth is used by physicians, psychologists, and fellow physiotherapists and occupational therapists around the world.

Virtual appointments work best for the following types of conditions:

  • Muscle and joint injuries (eg. knees and shoulders)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA)
  • Prenatal physiotherapy

We welcome anyone with painful intercourse, vaginismus, and dyspareunia to make an appointment. The virtual environment does limit the assessment and treatment for those conditions, so an in-clinic appointment is preferred if possible.

Because mental health support is not hands-on, it can easily transfer to virtual appointments and telehealth. Some conditions that we can help with include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain
  • Stress management
  • Trauma
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Grief & loss
  • Postpartum mental health
  • And more

The only type of appointment that cannot be done virtually is for accelerated resolution therapy (ART).

Virtual appointments work best for the following types of conditions:

  • Latch and positioning during feeds
  • Bottle feeding and pumping
  • Engorgement
  • Blocked ducts or plugged ducts
  • Mastitis (working with a physician in the case of infection)
  • Breast and nipple pain
  • Torticollis and plagiocephaly (head flattening)
  • Parents or infants with special needs (eg. fibromyalgia or cerebral palsy in the parent; low tone or hip dysplasia in the infant)
  • And more

The appointment is provided by a registered physiotherapist or occupational therapist, even for breastfeeding support. Our billing is all done electronically and you will receive a receipt via e-mail.

Please check with your insurance company to find out if their physiotherapy or occupational therapy coverage includes telehealth.

Geographical Questions

For legal reasons, our telehealth and virtual appointments are only available to Canadians.

For legal reasons, our telehealth and virtual appointments are only available for people in Alberta.

Yes! An advantage of telehealth is that our team is available to anyone in Alberta.

Yes! This is a great option for anyone who wants to stay home after having a baby; when our clinic is closed; or for anyone who travels for work (within Alberta).

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