Impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown on occupational therapy practice and use of telerehabilitation - A cross sectional study

B. Ganesan (Corresponding Author), K. N.K. Fong, S. K. Meena, P. Prasad, R. K.Y. Tong (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: COVID-19 has become a global public health emergency affecting 223 countries and territories, and it drastically changed the life of public and health care delivery systems. Although many guidelines have been proposed to avoid infection from COVID-19 and to promote the use of telerehabilitation, there is still no clear answer for the current scenario and strategies of therapists' practice during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. This study aimed to explore the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on Occupational Therapists' (OTs) practice, the use of telerehabilitation strategies by OTs, and their employment and mental health. Also, this study aimed to explore the OTs perspective on the role of telerehabilitation during this pandemic lockdown. Materials and Methods: Online cross-sectional survey was conducted between April 2020 and May 2020. Results: 114 OTs completed the survey. The results of this study showed that 52.8% of therapists had stress and anxiety due to COVID-19 lockdown. We found that 60.7% of OTs (n=65) used telerehabilitation, versus 36.1% (n=39) before the lockdown. Telerehabilitation approaches were mostly implemented during this lockdown for children with autistic problems (66.6%), stroke (12.9%), cerebral palsy (6.4%), learning disabilities (9.6%), Parkinson's diseases (1.6%), and other medical conditions (2.8%). 10% of therapists reported that they lost their job, and 76% reported that this lockdown affected their income negatively. Overall, 87.8% of therapists reported that mobile technology was very useful to overcome the stress due to COVID-19 related lockdown, social isolation, and social distancing. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown experiences made us rethink the current approach of therapy services into alternative method (mixed mode) delivery of occupational therapy practice, which is including the combined method of video-based (telerehabilitation) consultation and face to face intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3614-3622
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences
Volume25
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Lockdown
  • Occupational therapy
  • Social distancing
  • Telerehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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