Tele-rehabilitation: Navigating the global pandemic
Tele-rehabilitation is a term you may hear about more often. With the current global pandemic, it has become more difficult than ever to simply walk outside. The simple things such as going to the grocery store and spending time with others have now become a challenge. With the pandemic encouraging people to “socially distance”, technology has brought people together and provided a feasible option for therapy. While New York State was “sheltering in place”, many people still required occupational, physical and speech therapy. Tele-rehabilitation was identified as the sole platform for providing therapy.
Reason for Home Tele-rehabilitation
Tele-rehabilitation has emerged as an integral tool by providing skilled services over a web-based platform. While tele-rehabilitation is not appropriate for everyone, it can be beneficial for people who have difficulty with the following daily activities:
• Play Tasks
Tele-rehabilitation also assists with the progression of developmental milestones. Tele-rehabilitation has allowed therapists to be present with clients in their home environment while encouraging the client or caretaker to serve as the facilitator of the therapy under the therapist’s supervision. In a time when the field of occupational therapy is confined to four walls, it is also a time when therapists are able to teach a parent how to:
- Help their child ride a bike
- Help with handwriting difficulties
- Assist with a cooking task
- Provide adaptive recommendations for preparing a meal
Tele-rehabilitation allows the therapist to observe the actual tasks an individual wishes to work on and allows the task to be practiced in a natural environment. This can lead to increased engagement therefore, increasing the likelihood of success and promoting carryover (Maciver et al., 2019). This does not discount the need to continue to address underlying components related to task-specific performance. Tele-rehabilitation can assist with the transition from an inpatient stay to home for an adult/child. It’s an option for an adult/child who is unable to attend in person sessions. Tele-rehabilitation also serves as a home follow up service when a client has been discharged from in person outpatient services. The benefits of tele-rehabilitation include increased access for clients and families, convenient appointments that do not require travel, and use of their own environments.
How The Process Works
The process for tele-rehabilitation begins with access to a smartphone, tablet or a computer to use a secure web-based platform. Initially, a modified evaluation is performed to determine deficits and identify client-centered goals. Next, a discussion of materials and toys to use during therapeutic interventions is addressed. Then, a recommendation of frequency of services is discussed.
Possible Tele-rehabilitation Outcomes
Ultimately, tele-rehabilitation can be a sustainable tool in providing patient education. It helps people with challenging day-to-day tasks and providing continuity of care, thereby improving participation in age-appropriate tasks and functional independence. Interested in learning more? Call Michelle at Wedell Home Therapy. 516-582-6374
Maciver, D., Rutherford, M., Arakelyan, S., Kramer, J. M., Richmond, J., Todorova, L., Romero-Ayuso, D., Nakamura-Thomas, H., Ten Velden,M., Finlayson, I., O’Hare, A., & Forsyth, K. (2019). Participation of children with disabilities in school: A realist systematic review of psychosocial and environmental factors. PloS one, 14(1), e0210511. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210511