Delivering care remotely
During the COVID-19 pandemic remote interventions are our first option for delivering care, on the premise it is the only way that we can eliminate the risk of virus transfer entirely. A ‘remote first’ approach means we will recommend this model of delivery, where we can establish remote intervention is suitable and we believe we can achieve a comparable or better outcome than face to face.
Through necessity, when lockdown was first imposed, we developed our remote service offering. We have since refined our approach and techniques, as well as implementing a successful remote therapy training programme for our OTs. It is clear from the results we have seen that remote therapy provision is, for many situations, a viable alternative to face to face visits with equally successful outcomes… in some cases with additional benefits.
So much that we traditionally thought could only be achieved through a face to face interaction, we have discovered is possible remotely. Giving clients an enhanced level of choice and control, whilst offering referrers a more cost effective and timely method of accessing the best therapy for their client.
Assessments, treatments, a wide scope of rehabilitation programmes and MDT working are just some of the needs that we can successfully meet through supporting clients remotely.
With technology being more accessible and usable for people than ever before, and the clear benefits remote intervention can often bring, our remote service will be an offering we will continue to develop and enhance beyond its necessity during lockdown.
Benefits of remote assessments
Whilst initially the lock down certainly presented some challenges, we have also seen some surprising positives for clients. Quite unexpectedly, but rather wonderfully, some of our clients have blossomed through the flexibility, freedom and control that remote intervention offers. We, like many others have learned the importance of challenging the status quo and that sometimes through adversity, an opportunity for growth and development presents itself. The OT Practice are adopting a more fluid model between remote and face to face interventions which means that in some circumstances we may use a hybrid of both methods to ensure the best outcome for all. Some of the benefits of a remote intervention model include:
- Currently the remote model is the only way to eliminate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- When a therapist does not need to travel, it means we can match the most suitably skilled OT from our entire national network to the clinical requirements of the client.
- We can offer far more flexibility around appointment slots for clients, again because the OT is not having to travel, they have more time in their day to accommodate appointment flexibility.
- We can break assessment or treatment sessions down into more manageable timeframes for clients. It is not uncommon that some clients fatigue during a face to face session leading to a reduction in their performance and engagement. With remote sessions we can split them into more manageable time slots and potentially over several days to ensure that the client receives the maximum benefit from their session.
- The use of technology for some clients is a familiar and comfortable method of communication. We have found that some clients find they can share information more freely and comfortably through remote methods and we are able to access information that we may not have in a face to face environment.
- By using a remote model with some clients we have found that their anxiety over the therapeutic process has significantly reduced. There is nobody directly ‘in their space’ and they have full control over the process leading to a more engaged and productive session.
- We have found that some of our clients who were previously less familiar with technology, given some support, have embraced it and found a new lease of life! We have been able to use technology as a treatment methodology and in many cases opened up lines of communication to family and friends that were previously absent.
- With a reduction in travel costs a remote intervention can offer significant cost savings to the referrer.
- Those clients who are shielding or vulnerable are still, in many circumstances, able to access therapy and continue their journey to independence.