Purpose: To explore occupational, physical, and speech-language pathology therapists’ perceived effectiveness of telehealth and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their professional roles. Method: Participants were recruited for the study through a research flyer distrusted via postal mail, emails, social media, and national association websites. An anonymous electronic 19-item survey was developed for this study by the researchers based on a review of the literature and clinical experience. Results. In total, 186 survey responses were obtained, with 152 meeting the inclusion criteria. The average age of participants was 38.6 years with an average work duration of 12.7 years ± 12.5 in their current profession. Participants reported an average of 32.2 ± 17.4 patients on their case load per week, of which 58% were face-to-face, 50.85% were seen via video, and 3.2% via phone. Results from the Likert scale questions revealed that almost 60% of the participants reported they viewed telehealth as a relevant service delivery method and 48.7% reported it is effective in delivering therapy. However, only 17.8% of participants agreed that telehealth is as effective as in-person therapy. Approximately 77% of participants did not have experience with using telehealth before the pandemic and 42.1% felt they did not receive adequate training for the use of telehealth during the pandemic. Benefits of using telehealth reported by participants include increased access to care (38.8%), reduced travel time (53.3%), schedule flexibility (49.3%), and improved continuity of care (26.3%). Conclusions. The findings of this study reveal that the switch to telehealth services provided multiple benefits for therapist and client. Many therapists also held multiple roles such as spouse and parent during the pandemic, making it important to understand how to deal with professional disruption while continuing to deliver therapy services with minimal interruption in client-centered care.
Sprianu C, Krpalek D, Kugel JD, Bains G, Gharibvand L. COVID-19 and Telehealth Use Among Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech-language Pathology Practitioners in the United States. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2022 Mar 31;20(2), Article 20.