Covid 19 – The impact on occupational therapy (OT) practice

Practicing as an OT in the private sector, I have quickly had to reflect and plan how to continue working remotely and effectively with clients at this difficult time.

Initially providing a proposed vision of remote working for the therapist and client has been positive in keeping clients engaged. Increased communication over the phone has been integral in maintaining a therapeutic relationship and re-prioritising OT goals focusing on achievable goals which can be addressed remotely.

I have appropriately delegated more actions to a client and their families providing clear verbal and written instructions on the information which has been required.

An increased use of what app messaging, text messaging, use of photos, diagrams, video recordings sent via whatsapp and live streaming has been required to continue therapy.

Following on from a telephone assessment, the use of video recording for activity analysis has worked effectively as this has allowed repeat viewings of the video footage providing a more detailed analysis and treatment plan. After analysing an activity I plan to use live streaming to provide client feedback, demonstrate and work through new ways to increase independence. I see the process of telephone assessment, video analysis and live streaming working effectively for multiple client goals.

Equipment recommendations have been sourced locally wherever possible to provide possible after care therefore covering any additional accessories or adjustments which may be required once the equipment has been delivered.

The implementation of MDT conference calls organised by case managers has been effective in providing team updates, forward therapy team planning, sharing of new methods of working and support for independent practitioners.

During this current climate it has been possible to work remotely on many client rehab goals using today’s current technologies. Post Covid 19 will encourage and support many professionals/companies to adapt to new ways of working.

I feel we need to pay credit to our clients who have been amazing, receptive to new ways of working and have continued to be motivated in progressing rehab goals to regain their independence.


– Gayle Cardwell, Occupational Therapist