Photos Andy Calvert
For the last 21 ½ years pediatric patients in Rome and the surrounding areas who are in need of physical, occupational or speech therapy have been able to turn to the staff at Infinity Children’s Services. Their team of 19 therapists perform a wide variety of treatments to patients ranging from infants up to 21 years of age, teaching vital skills that vary from learning how to walk to learning to chew their food.
These essential therapy sessions were at risk of being interrupted at the onset of the shutdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak, but action was quickly taken to ensure that patients would still have access to the therapy that they need.
“When all of this started I was in a total panic over how we could continue to serve our patients,” says owner Beth McCray. “We moved quickly and I’m proud to say that by day three of the shutdown we were fully equipped to offer teletherapy. While we had some patients who could continue to come in for their sessions, the majority were able to be served via telehealth and that technology has just been amazing. We were able to keep our patients moving forward in their therapy and that means the world to us here.”
For the patients that needed to come in to the office to continue their therapy, the staff quickly put in procedures to make their safety a priority.
“We moved to car check-ins, so parents call or text when they arrive and our therapists go out to their vehicles and bring the children into the facility. There are some patients that absolutely require a parent to accompany them, so that is allowed in those cases. Before that we go through the standard questions about exposure and symptoms. We sanitize every surface after each session, which is something we have always practiced, but have certainly amplified during this crisis, so we are really trying to do everything we can to keep our patients safe while they are with us.”
Outside of those precautions, therapists also set up outdoor activities for their sessions in the parking lot, which has allowed parents the options to avoid an enclosed space if that make them uncomfortable. It has been an all hands on deck effort with a primary goal of offering continued care for their patients.
“These kids and their families fight so hard to gain new skills through these sessions,” says Mcray. “Sometimes these skills take months to develop and if they go without our services there is a good chance for regression, and they could possibly have to start from the beginning to regain them. That is why it is of the utmost importance for their sessions to continue whether there is a pandemic or not.”
Thanks to technology and the hard work of their dedicated staff, the patients at Infinity Children’s Services have continued to progress in learning essential life skills. The peace of mind for the patients, their families and the staff that provides is allowing them to weather the storm until they can return to in-person therapy with all of their patients.
“I just can’t wait to see all of their smiling faces again,” says Mcray. “That will have to do until hugs become a normal part of life again, but we will just be glad to see them here in the building again when that time comes.”