Balance Matters: A neuro physical therapist’s journey to make “Sense” of Balance

Vestibular Rehab and Telehealth with Sarah Gallagher

October 28, 2020 Erica Season 1 Episode 3
Balance Matters: A neuro physical therapist’s journey to make “Sense” of Balance
Vestibular Rehab and Telehealth with Sarah Gallagher
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Are you adding vestibular rehab to your telehealth sessions? 
We have the honor to learn from a pioneer in telehealth rehab, Sarah Gallagher, PT, DPT, NCS, the owner of South Valley Physical Therapy, the founder of the Dizzy Clinic and founder and chair of the Vestibular SIG Telehealth Task Force.

This interview was recorded a year ago prior to the pandemic when telehealth was not widespread.  COVID-19 has quickly changed the landscape of telehealth.  This interview is still extremely relevant as more clinics are transitioning to hybrid models and telehealth. This interview we mainly discuss the clinical applications regarding assessment and treatment during telehealth sessions? Tips on verbal instructions, observation skills and screening tools are discussed.

Before you begin providing services via telehealth or using telecommunications modalities, consider federal and state legislation and regulations that govern your practice, billing and coding issues.  Please check the APTA’s website with up to date info on telehealth resources and tips.

Dr. Sarah Gallagher PT, DPT, NCS graduated with her doctorate from MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA and completed an internship at Massachusetts General Hospital in acute care. After working several years in hospital settings, focusing in trauma, she transitioned to an outpatient setting.  South Valley Physical Therapy specializes in neurologic and vestibular rehabilitation and as an owner she collaborates with regional and national experts to ensure the evidence based and cutting-edge treatment. Dr. Gallagher identified that access to expert vestibular rehab is limited due to limited expertise in the state of Colorado, long travel distances, and dizziness impeding commuting to the clinic.  This problem led her to found The Dizzy Clinic which provides vestibular rehab via videoconferencing in 2017 as well as implemented tele rehab at South Valley PT for insurance reimbursement. She lectures at the University of Colorado PT school on vestibular rehabilitation and telehealth. She has presented at national conferences including CSM and several state APTA conferences on implementing tele rehab.  She also is the founder of the Colorado Vestibular Support Group, member of: APTA, Academy of Neurology and Vestibular SIG, Vestibular Disorders Association (VeDA). She participates in the APTA FiRST Council, Telehealth track, and is founder and chair of the Vestibular SIG Telehealth Task Force.  She authored an article for VeDA on telerehab with vestibular patients, published in January 2018. In 2020, she was awarded Colorado’s Outstanding PT of the year for her advocacy and training of telehealth.


Turolla A, Rossettini G, Viceconti A, Palese A, Geri T. Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Is Telerehabilitation the Answer?. Phys Ther. 2020;100(8):1260-1264. doi:10.1093/ptj/pzaa093

van Vugt VA, van der Wouden JC, Essery R, et al. Internet based vestibular rehabilitation with and without physiotherapy support for adults aged 50 and older with a chronic vestibular syndrome in general practice: three armed randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2019;367:l5922. Published 2019 Nov 5. doi:10.1136/bmj.l5922

Tenforde AS, Hefner JE, Kodish-Wachs JE, Iaccarino MA, Paganoni S. Telehealth in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: A Narrative Review. PM R. 2017 May;9(5S):S51-S58. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2017.02.013. PMID: 28527504.


Sarah Gallagher bio
what sparked your interest to use telehealth?
what types of clients are appropriate for telehealth?
Examples that can benefit from telehealth in vestibular rehab
Competencies for implementing telehealth
State regulations and insurance
Support groups
Closing points