Three months ago the country came to a halt, non-essential rehabilitation in the majority of settings jolted to a sudden stop. Covid-19 pandemic level and strict lockdown regulations were required to protect not just our most vulnerable but every living person in the whole world.
Given a couple of days to adjust, reflect and risk assess situations it was only natural that OT’s working as case managers were able to don their thinking out-of-the-box hats to consider solutions for how they could continue to support their clients, engage services and therapies in order to progress rehabilitation within the strictest risk assessed measures.
My working week as a case manager has become extremely flexible with no weekend or evening commitments and no wasted time spent travelling, I feel I have had much more availability to have online meetings, consultations and conference calls meaning I am actioning things quicker than usual. The turnover and pace has been fast and so has the rehabilitation progress that some clients are making.
One client, a single mom with two teenage children developed Covid 19 symptoms shortly before lockdown, due to pre-existing asthma she deemed herself vulnerable and has been shielding ever since. As an MDT consisting of OT, physio and psychologist we were concerned that this client’s anxieties would significantly increase and without access to physical rehabilitation she was at risk of deconditioning further and regressing with her physical rehabilitation to date.
As a team we have had initially weekly, and now fortnightly conference calls to work jointly on goals, sharing and reviewing how this is taking place, the progress made and setting new goals for each week. Every member of the treating team has used video calls on a variety of platforms and as a result in eight weeks the client has significantly increased range of movement and strengthening in all her physio exercises, has become independent in all her household domestic tasks resulting in being able to stop the three times a week cleaning service and has progressed with her exposure work.
Given the recent easing of restrictions to allow meeting one person outdoors per day at a social distance, next week’s therapy plans are progressing to outdoor socially distanced face-to-face interventions. PPE has been arranged for the client who is keen to engage and be supported safely with her goals. Myself, the treating team and the client all feel a huge sense of achievement in how working together, following guidelines and being proactive has led to such tremendous progress despite severe restrictions.
I have learned so much from my working experience under the Covid 19 restrictions, everything has been about how do we find a way to do this the best way we can to support our clients and give them hope for the future. I have achieved this through reviewing client centred goals with the client, risk assessment, collaboration with peers and supervision, liaison with services, statutory and private medical and rehabilitation teams. I feel that being optimistic, motivated and embracing change has helped me inspire confidence in the treating teams that it is okay to try new ways of working, it might not be perfect, it might be new but if it is risk assessed and safe and will benefit our clients let’s give it a go. Through ongoing success myself and the treating team all agree that we have developed new skills to help us work more creatively, flexibly and efficiently in the future.