An inside look at essential workers: Agape physical therapists

Posted at 7:59 AM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 17:42:01-04

Physical therapists are deemed essential workers. They don't have contact with coronavirus patients but they are in constant contact with people in the community.

They're putting their safety at risk to help their patients who are recovering from an injury or dealing with chronic pain.

"The therapists know what they're doing and treat the knee like it's something really important and I kinda like that," said David Yensan as he's biking at Agape Physical Therapy to help his failing knee. He's grateful PT is an essential service during this national pandemic.

"I would have been without physical therapy and the knee would have just deteriorated on its own without the necessary stretching and exercise that I get here," he said.

There are 11 Agape offices, covering the northeastern section of Maryland.

"We really need to keep people moving and if they’ve had an injury to their muscular skeletal system, the tendency is to sit down and become immobile and if that happens the effects of immobility are drastic on all of their systems," said John Taylor, the owner of Agape. "The hands on care that we give them here is critically important for long term recovery in their life.

Taylor said being open not only keeps his therapists employed and his patients healthy, it helps local hospitals.

"It allows us to keep the emergency rooms and hospitals less full, they can come to us and won’t need to go to this places so it will keep hospital beds available for those who many need it during this crisis," said Taylor. "Doctors know we’ve been trained in monitoring the effects post surgically of patients so rather than go back to doctor or ER we can check for inflection, inflammation, any of those problems patient are concerned with."

Agape offers tele-health appointments now for clients who don't want to come into the office because of the coronavirus. Most patients prefer the in-person interaction.

"I'm more accountable when I see someone," said Wendy Kosik Chaney. She's recovering from a double knee replacement.

"I was living with incredible amounts of pain just on a daily basis to exist. It’s really important when you have a total knee replacement that the recovery is right after that so you keep the range of motion and the scare tissue at bay," said Kosik Chaney. "You have to do the work immediately or you don’t get the benefits of the surgery."

She needs PT three times a week, plus at home home exercises.

Kosik Chaney stressed, "It really is a lifeline when you have an actual injury that you’re trying to recover. We’re all doing challenges. Imagine the additional stress of I’m not going to be for the rest of my life another 30 years because I can’t get here for 8 weeks or 12 weeks, that’s a big impact for me."

So for Agape, it's business as usual, with a few minor changes. All patients are six feet from each other, therapists are constantly washing their hands since they have direct contact with patients and surfaces are wiped down several times a day.