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Remote Services

As an alternative to face to face visits, we offer remote intervention through online video conferencing or over the phone, where possible and appropriate. Currently, being able to deliver care remotely is essential to ensure clients can continue to receive therapy, whilst minimising risk of COVID-19 transmission. Here we outline how services are delivered, how we determine suitability for a successful outcome and the benefits of delivering care remotely.

Find out more about our face to face visits during the pandemic

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

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.

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 a remote consultation/assessment quote with a link to our referral form. If we think your situation would better suit a face to face assessment, we will discuss this with you.

Referral

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

Suitability & risk assessment

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 would be better served with a home 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 risk assessment 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 immediate advice and guidance where we can.