Telehealth has been extremely beneficial, especially with the current pandemic, in the field of occupational therapy. Telehealth has been a great asset for accessing clients and their needs from a safe and more comfortable setting. Through telehealth, we are able to meet with clients, configure data and trials, and create therapy plans personalized to our clients. This use of technology has saved our clients time and money, protected them from exposure of illness, and more importantly, has allowed them to remain in their most common occupational setting.
Occupational therapists work with clients to regain their independence in activities they find meaning in; such as drawing, cooking, or doing laundry. With the use of telehealth, they are able to receive therapy in a setting that they are most comfortable with. This however is also a challenge. Because we are so hands on with our clients, and at times, this is crucial, telehealth meetings alone would prove to be difficult when just starting to work with a client, especially if another clinician can not be present with the client in their home. At clinics, they implement direct, personable care to clients with use of adaptive equipment that clients most likely wouldnt have access to at home. Aspects of therapy sessions such as measuring the degree of mobility a client has or testing their strength when completing therapy sessions with a client who has a physical disability, would simply be near impossible through telehealth.
On the other hand, sessions conducted through school systems or programs for individuals with autism, for example, are easier to conduct via telehealth. In these sessions, occupational therapists can use telehealth to observe behaviors and conduct lesson plans from the office while the client can remain in a comfortable, well known setting, which may ease tension and awareness.
Ultimately, successful occupational therapy sessions through telehealth will depend on the clients needs and level of independence in the field of occupational therapy. All these aspects must be taken into consideration when analyzing the future of telehealth in this field.