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We are still providing services during the lockdown. Please call for more information and costs.

OT Practice Online

During the current Coronavirus pandemic we are continuing to provide assessments and treatment for our clients. The OT Practice is able to offer a number of services through online video conferencing or over the phone, where possible and appropriate. Here we outline the remote services we can offer during the lockdown period to ensure clients continue to receive the support they need and help avoid dependency other healthcare services.

Find out more about our Essential Services criteria for face to face visits

Services we are delivering remotely for you or your clients

Case managers

  • Remote consultations
  • Detailed online assessments
  • Video based therapy, support & advice
  • MDT working
  • Adjusting to current social restrictions
Find out more

Local Authorities/CCGs

  • Waiting list screening for remote assessment eligibility
  • Discharge planning
  • Equipment advice
  • Safety & independence at home
  • Minor aids
Find out more

Private Clients & Charities

  • Remote support & advice
  • Advice for relatives
  • Equipment advice
Find out more

Children's services

  • EHCP support
  • Advice for parents
  • Remote support for schools
  • OT consultations & input
  • SLT consultations & input
Find out more

Delivering care remotely

The foundation of the services we deliver at The OT Practice are based on seeing clients in the environment they live and operate in, whether it be their home, school or work. Our goal is to enable independence and quality of life and we know this is best done by seeing and experiencing our client's environment, so unquestionably we would rather be visiting people.

At this time, when we need to avoid direct contact as much as possible, we have a pragmatic and effective alternative by visiting people 'virtually', when a face to face visit can not justify the risks. This is now a very real and present alternative made possible by the evolution of fast internet connectivity, the ubiquity of powerful mobile devices and video conferencing tools becoming mainstream and available to all without cost.

Stopping the delivery of occupational therapy care in the community altogether is not an option. For private clients needing to stay safe in their home, avoid being admitted to hospital, or just managing to retain a level of independence at this difficult time. For social care, where resources have be redirected to the frontline, clients waiting for occupational therapy still need assessing and care delivered to avoid knock on effects to other areas of the healthcare system and the long-term detrimental effects of long waiting lists.

So much can still be achieved with a virtual visit. We can still conduct comprehensive assessments, deliver treatment, provide advice, work with MDTs and help clients with strategies for dealing with current restrictions.

Yes, it will bring new challenges and it will not be a practical alternative for all types of assessments, but for many will be a lifeline at a time of isolation.

Can we help?

Call us on 0330 024 9910 to discuss your circumstances and find out more about OT Practice Online.

Next steps

Enquiry & quote

Call on 0330 024 9910 or email the office team at enquiries@theotpractice.co.uk to discuss the needs of you, your family member or client and request an Online consultation/assessment quote with a link to our referral form. If we think your situation meets the criteria for a face to face assessment under our Essential Services we will discuss this with you.

Referral

Complete your referral online by clicking on the link in the quote email and following the steps.

Screening call (assessments only)

We will contact you/the client for an initial screening call. In this call we will complete a risk assessment to ensure the client will be able to engage with a remote assessment either telephonically or via video conference (using Zoom). If we do not feel that the client is suitable for a remote assessment either due to their emotional, physical or cognitive abilities to engage or because we consider them to be high risk we will highlight this to you. We will then discuss whether your client meets the criteria for a home visit as defined by our essential services or whether we wait for restrictions to be lifted before we visit.

Assessment / Consultation

We will arrange a mutually agreed assessment/consultation time. Our OT will provide the client with details for the video meeting or phone assessment/consultation and any preparation tasks they need to complete.

Report & recommendations

Our OT will complete a full assessment report including recommendations, or in the case of a consultation, a meeting summary, which will be sent to you within 7 days.

How remote assessments work

Therapeutic assessments and interventions can be delivered in a variety of ways. How it is done will depend on the therapeutic requirements of the assessment, the support on hand for the client and the technology available to them. Looking at these in more detail...

The therapeutic requirements of the assessment broadly breaks down into three categories:

  • The OT needs to see the client in motion
  • The OT needs to see scenario illustrations, but not necessarily in motion
  • A detailed verbal consultation is adequate for the OT

Depending on which category the client falls within will determine the minimum requirements for an online consultation to be successful and how the session will be conducted.

The ideal scenario for delivering an assessment or intervention online is for the client to have access to a computer or preferably a mobile device that allows them to video conference and to have someone with them to assist throughout the assessment. This will facilitate assessments with the broadest therapeutic requirements, that can be addressed remotely. For example, this scenario would allow the OT to simultaneously give the client direction and see say a transfer, with the assisting person holding the mobile video conferencing device (such as an iPad or mobile phone).

It is likely this scenario is not possible for many clients and we need to assess in our screening call if they have the minimum requirements based on their therapeutic requirement. If the assessment can be achieved with verbal communication then it will be possible to simply conduct the assessment over the phone. Where scenarios need to be illustrated then we would need a minimum of the client being able to use (or access) a camera to send photos or videos to the OT during or prior to the assessment. Using these techniques may take more time and require a more in-depth discussion with the client than video meetings, but we will only go ahead with a remote consultation if we are confident from the screening call that we can achieve a successful outcome.

Technology requirements

The key questions we will ask with regards to use of technology to facilitate a remote session are:

  • Does the client have a computer or mobile device capable of video running Zoom our preferred video meeting platform? (Mac/Windows/Linux/iOS/Android)
  • Does the client have sufficient internet connection/mobile signal to transmit video effectively? (3G is sufficient)
  • Are they tech savvy enough to set up the meeting software or do they have someone there to help them set it up?
  • Do they have someone to help assist during the assessment, in particular if using a mobile device, helping with holding the device if the client needs to demonstrate activities?
  • If they do not have the technical capabilities for video meetings do they have access to a mobile device that can send photos or video clips? And do they have the capability to use it or have someone there who can assist with using it?

Depending on the technology tools they have available to them, we will adjust our approach accordingly. If the client does not have the minimum requirements for a successful assessment, based on the therapeutic requirements discussed above, we will address this at the screening call stage before progressing with the assessment.

We have chosen Zoom as a preferred system for video consultations for the following primary reasons:

  • It is an established platform that is already widely used for online consultations and therapeutic input in the UK
  • It offers a simple user experience (easy to install and use) with good quality video
  • It works across all major platforms including mobile devices.
  • The technology used offers a high level of security and compliance with data protection best practices

More information on the Zoom meeting platform can be found here: https://zoom.us

Data protection

There are three key considerations for using video meetings:

Consent
Where possible we will email the client a consent form and ask for this to be returned in advance of the assessment. Where this is not possible and the assessment is going to be telephonic, we will ask for and record verbal consent.

Technical security
We have selected Zoom as our authorised video meeting platform. It is already widely used for healthcare consultations in the UK and is considered an industry leading product. It offers a high level of security and compliance. You can find more about their security measure here: https://zoom.us/security

Recording meetings
Zoom has the facility to record meetings however, we have given clear and strict instructions that therapists are not to record meetings. In exceptional circumstances, where there would be significant benefit in recording a meeting, the therapist would need explicit consent from a Director as well as written consent from the client. In this scenario all recordings would be stored on The OT Practice secure file server in an encrypted format.

The advice from the Information Commission's Officer (ICO) is:

“The need for public bodies and health practitioners to be able to communicate directly with people when dealing with this type of health emergency has never been greater. We know you might need to share information quickly or adapt the way you work. Data protection will not stop you doing that. It is about being proportionate - if something feels excessive from the public’s point of view, then it probably is. Data protection and electronic communication laws do not stop Government, the NHS or any other health professionals from sending public health messages to people, either by phone, text or email as these messages are not direct marketing. Nor does it stop them using the latest technology to facilitate safe and speedy consultations and diagnoses.”

Duty of care

During this time we recognise that clients are likely to have a heighten sense of anxiety and possibly loneliness. As healthcare professionals, our first priority is to ensure that clients are safe and well. If we identify during our initial call that the client is need of emotional or physical support we will provide advice and guidance where we can.