Virtual Occupational Therapy: Why You Should Consider Virtual Care
January 17, 2022 by Ana Hancock, OTR-L, OTD
Although Occupational Therapy (OT) has the word “occupation” in its title, this is misleading. Many interpret this literally; however, “occupation” in this sense is defined as, “any activity or task that is valued and that occupies time,” leading many to refer to occupational therapy as the therapy of life. Not only does it include taking care of basic needs, such as dressing, bathing, and toileting, but it also involves engagement in meaningful daily activities. Spending time with family, cooking, driving to the grocery store, playing golf, or writing a loved one a birthday card are all examples of activities that fall under the realm of occupational therapy.
Reasons for Virtual Occupational Therapy
After injuries, like traumatic and anoxic brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, and chronic pain, physical and cognitive deficits secondary to these diagnoses can affect performance and overall independence. Many believe occupational therapy is most effective when delivered in-person because it allows for a hands-on approach. There are situations where this is true. However, during the rehabilitation process, bringing the skills learned from the clinic to the real-world is crucial for skill acquisition and generalization. This is where clinic-based therapy falls short. Here are some reasons to choose virtual occupational therapy.
Telerehabilitation offers the freedom to complete therapy, virtually anywhere. It provides the convenience of logging onto a session directly from home combined with unprecedented access to experts in the field. The use of a virtual platform also eliminates travel time and associated expenses incurred with traditional outpatient therapying. Once the session is complete, it’s easy get back to living life. The time saved by participating in virtual therapy can be spent with loved ones, on a hobby, working or any other fulfilling activity.
A highly contextual environment is best for learning new skills. For example, completing laundry in your own laundry room is more functional than simulating this in a therapy room. This allows for specific practice, like reaching into YOUR cupboard to pull down the laundry detergent, opening and closing YOUR washer/dryer, carrying the clothes around YOUR home, and folding them or hanging them in YOUR closet. These may seem like small details, but they are the factors that lead to success and are unachievable in the clinic. Virtual therapy eliminates the guesswork and ensures the skills learned in therapy are practiced in and applied to the real world.
Access to Clinical Expertise
Virtual occupational therapy provides unprecedented access to experts who would otherwise be inaccessible due to geographical and/or transportation barriers. Clinicians who specialize in treating complex injuries, like brain injury, spinal cord injury, limb loss, and chronic pain are difficult to find. As a result, individuals with these types of injuries often settle by working with clinicians who lack experience with these diagnoses or even go without therapy. Consider this…going to a certified hand therapist who rarely, if ever, treats your type of injury and expecting that he or she is able to address all of your needs is like having an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in joint replacement fix a torn rotator cuff. A positive outcome is highly unlikely.
Because of their training, occupational therapists are extremely versed in all aspects of clinical care making them effective in addressing a wide variety of impairments. We’ve already established the fact that there’s more to occupational therapy than getting back to work. Having support from an expert who understands how all aspects of your life work together is a gamechanger. Beyond emotional support, learning a few tips and tricks throughout your recovery journey can save time and frustration.
Here are some additional reasons to seek guidance from an occupational therapist:
- Self-care and daily routines
- Home and community access and reintegration
- Vocational skills training
- Cognitive training and support
- Vision therapy
- Exploration and utilization of adaptive equipment and rehab technology
- Fine motor and sensory integration training
- Driver’s assessment and training
- Caregiver training
- Bowel and bladder consultation and training
How Kintinu Telerehab Can Help with Virtual Occupational Therapy
Backed by decades of experience producing exceptional clinical outcomes, Kintinu Telerehab connects your recovery plan to everyday life. We offer many of these virtual occupational therapy services in collaboration with physical Therapy, speech Therapy, and psychology services to deliver the best virtual care and therapy possible.
We bring your passions and interests, support network, and your everyday surroundings into the outpatient recovery journey – where extraordinary outcomes are achieved.