Assistant Professor Simmons University Boston, Massachusetts
Research Objectives: To examine the current practice patterns including strengths and challenges faced by pediatric physical therapists (PTs) and occupational therapists (OTs) while delivering virtual care during the pandemic.
Design: Exploratory Survey Study
Setting: Pediatric therapists working in different settings (i.e. inpatient, outpatient, early intervention, and school-based)
Participants: Pediatric PTs and OTs
Main Outcome Measures: An anonymous electronic survey distributed via Redcap Online Survey Software. The survey was developed and validated through cognitive interviewing of 3 therapists with clinical and/or research experience. It included components related to therapist demographics, specifications of telehealth sessions, and perceived quality of delivery.
Results: Preliminary data from 96 participants indicated an equivalent representation of PTs (51.2%) and OTs (49.7%), with 91.4% therapists reporting no prior experience with telerehabilitation. 74.5-78.6% reported average duration of 30-60 minutes for a virtual session and frequency of 1x/week. Maintaining child’s interest and limited availability/willingness of caregivers to participate was identified as the most common challenge (70-74% of therapists), whereas, better assessment of home environment was identified as the most common strength (74% of therapists) of telerehabilitation. 59.6% therapists modified the assessments and 89.5% modified the intervention activities to make them conducive for the virtual environment. 57% of therapists felt they did not deliver equivalent care during virtual sessions compared to in-person sessions, and 40% reported lack of basic knowledge and resources required to conduct the sessions. Additionally, 50% lacked confidence in accurately assessing children virtually.
Conclusions: Our study provided the preliminary data on the current practice trends of virtual rehabilitation. Pediatric telerehabilitation is an evolving healthcare field with need of future research on operational guidelines and its effectiveness.
Author(s) Disclosures: All authors have no conflict of interest.
Upon completion, we will offer valuable insights into the delivery of movement telerehabilitation including the common barriers and challenges of virtual care in the pediatric population.
Upon completion, we will provide the much-needed preliminary evidence for future operationalization of standard practice guidelines and educational resources for delivery of pediatric telerehabilitation.
Upon completion, we will pave way for future investigation of assessments and intervention strategies conducive to the virtual environment.