Rapid Implementation of Telerehabilitation for Pediatric Patients During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a sudden limitation of in-person outpatient occupational and physical therapy services for most patients at a large, multisite pediatric hospital located in the Midwest, United States. To ensure patient and staff safety, the hospital rapidly shifted to deliver most of these services via telerehabilitation. The purposes of this study were to (1) describe the rapid implementation of telerehabilitation during the COVID-19 pandemic, (2) describe the demographic characteristics of patients who continued in-person services and those who received telerehabilitation, and (3) evaluate the therapists’ perceptions of telerehabilitation for physical and occupational therapy. Most of the children (83.4% of n=1352) received telerehabilitation services. A family was more likely to choose to continue in-person visits if their child was <1-year-old, had a diagnosis of torticollis, received serial casting, or was post-surgical. Occupational and physical therapy therapists (n=9) completed surveys to discern their perceptions of the acceptability of telerehabilitation, with most reporting that telerehabilitation was as effective as in-person care.
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