Twin Boro Physical Therapy’s Westfield, NJ facility has been a pillar in the community for 35 years, and their resilience and dedication to local residents has remained as strong as ever throughout the entire coronavirus pandemic. Back in March, after Twin Boro decided to stay open but with reduced staffing, many patients continued to come in for care and the clinic has continued to provide their much-needed services in a safe environment since then.
Throughout the pandemic, Twin Boro Physical Therapy-Westfield has remained open and weathered the storm
Helming these efforts over the past few months is Clinical Director Jessica Garry Klaskin, DPT, who has successfully responded to the challenges of running a physical therapy clinic in the midst of a worldwide health crisis and kept things moving as smoothly as possible.
“As soon as we decided to remain open, we started following the CDC’s guidelines for sanitation and cleaning, even before it became mandatory,” Jessica said. “This has included wiping down and sanitizing all the equipment both before and after each use, and it’s been mandatory for all staff members and patients to wear masks at all times. We have also been scheduling only two patients per hour so that can stay socially distanced within the clinic for their entire treatment session, and we’ve offered private treatment rooms for those that would prefer to receive their care in that setting instead.”
Serving Patients through Telehealth
In addition, the Westfield facility introduced telehealth as soon as it became available. This has helped them make up for some of their reduced capacity and allowed them to continue serving patients that were not comfortable coming into the clinic for in-person sessions. Both new and existing patients have taken full advantage of this service, with up to half of patients undergoing treatment through telehealth at one point.
According to Jessica, one of the biggest challenges during the pandemic has been meeting the same demands of operating a physical therapy practice, but with a smaller staff. Yet even in the face of these obstacles, Jessica and her team have been up to the task at hand, putting in the extra time and taking on new roles and responsibilities as needed.
“It’s been all hands on deck and taking on whatever tasks need to be done, even if they might not be what a staff member would normally be responsible for,” she said. “From telehealth and cleaning equipment, to laundry and scheduling appointments, everyone has been learning new roles and we’ve all come together to work as a cohesive unit rather than as individuals. I think that’s been one of our main strengths and what we can attribute to our success as a clinic during these difficult times.”
Weathering the Storm
The Westfield clinic has clearly weathered the storm over the last several months, and as regulations have been relaxed and coronavirus cases have consistently dropped in New Jersey, it’s been continuing to adapt as even more patients are now coming back.
“Since the surgical centers opened back up, we’re definitely seeing many more post-surgical patients return, and we’re also seeing many of our existing patients that stopped at the beginning of the pandemic are returning to finish their treatment,” Jessica said. “We’re back to full staff and have enough patients that we’ve been able to bring back most of our therapists. Patients have been very receptive to the new environment and are conscious of keeping their social distance and have even gone as far as wiping down our equipment. They’ve been very helpful and respectful. We consider them to be part of our team, and we feel that they’ve made all of these ongoing changes much easier.”
As a reliable facet of the community, the Westfield clinic has also helped local residents begin to feel a sense of normalcy that has been missing for many during this crisis.
“Many of our patients say that things have felt more normal since they’ve started treatment again, probably because we’re a piece of their life that they’re used to,” Jessica said.
“We are part of the community and we’ve been able to be a positive light for patients during a very stressful time. So patients have continued through treatment and have been thankful that we’ve still been open so that they can continue to work on their mobility and get their function back in a safe manner, which is exactly what we have hoped to accomplish by making these decisions.”