Rapid Implementation of Telerehabilitation for Pediatric Patients During COVID-19

  • Rachel Bican Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8516-6779
  • Catie Christensen Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • Kristin Fallieras Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • Grace Sagester Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • Sara O'Rourke Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • Michelle Byars Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • Kelly Tanner Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA
Keywords: COVID-19, Occupational Therapy, Pediatrics, Physical Therapy, Telehealth, Telerehabilitation


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.



Author Biographies

Rachel Bican, Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA


Catie Christensen, Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA


Kristin Fallieras, Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA


Grace Sagester, Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA


Sara O'Rourke, Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA


Michelle Byars, Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA


Kelly Tanner, Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA



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How to Cite
Bican, R. ., Christensen, C., Fallieras, K., Sagester, G., O’Rourke, S., Byars, M., & Tanner, K. (2021). Rapid Implementation of Telerehabilitation for Pediatric Patients During COVID-19. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.5195/ijt.2021.6371
Clinical Practice -COVID 19