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The Transition to Telehealth in Pediatric Occupational Therapy

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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals including occupational therapy practitioners (OTPs) were required to transition to working utilizing an online-service delivery model called telehealth. The use of telehealth for

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals including occupational therapy practitioners (OTPs) were required to transition to working utilizing an online-service delivery model called telehealth. The use of telehealth for occupational therapy (OT) sessions was limited prior to the pandemic, and this shift required OTPs to provide services in ways many had never experienced. The purpose of this study was to identify how the transition to telehealth impacted OTPs and their ability to provide proper care to the pediatric population via telehealth. The final analytic sample included 32 female OTPs who worked with the pediatric population. Results from qualitative and quantitative analyses showed that OTPs had positive feelings toward using telehealth and that the telehealth modality had a moderate impact on their job performance. The areas that pediatric OTPs want to be addressed included technology and internet issues, lack of parent involvement, decreased quality of care, inaccessibility of materials, decreased attention span and increased distractions, and lack of general knowledge about telehealth among clients, parents, and professionals. Despite these drawbacks, a positive theme emerged that the telehealth model is good for current circumstances. The results show telehealth is a positive experience for OTPs and allows OT to be more accessible to their clients. Implications for increasing education for healthcare professionals, clients, and parents/guardians to make telehealth accessible to clients on a large scale are discussed.

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  • 2021-05