Let’s talk about telehealth occupational therapy and why you should try it after a stroke.
Imago Rehab's interest in telehealth
When our team started planning for Imago Rehab in 2019, "therapy" was an in-person concept but we were planning to start doing "telehealth" (also called virtual occupational therapy or "teletherapy"). We were still at Harvard at that time, performing a "home study" with individuals with stroke taking our prototype device home for 4 weeks and we were planning on interacting virtually with those users via telehealth. No one knew how to use Zoom and sometimes we would spend 30 minutes helping participants figure out where their tablet's camera was and how to turn in on and off.
Enter <<COVID-19>> and BAM, everyone and their brother tried telehealth out of necessity when in-person clinics closed. In some ways, this change was beneficial for Imago Rehab. The confusion about telehealth being possible was erased and most people learned pretty quickly how to use online platforms for medical visits.
Why is Telehealth effective?
Telehealth can improve your accessibility to care, so there's no transportation needed for that long drive downtown or hours spent waiting for a ride to pick you up.
You do therapy in your home with your own stuff, so there’s no gap between what happens in the clinic and what you can carryover to home.
The focus is on real life skills, not exercises.
Therapy is most effective if we you can recreate the therapy again as your home program.
Research on telehealth over the past 10 years suggests that telehealth can be just as effective as in-person therapy, and occasionally, the results are even better. In a recent study, adults with stroke had very similar improvements in the affected arm when given 36 in-clinic vs 36 telehealth sessions, AND the people receiving telehealth missed fewer scheduled sessions. Wow!
How do we make Telehealth work?
We need to be able to see you. Using a tablet or laptop computer is better than using a phone but use what you have. Try sitting at a table and check if you can see your torso, both arms, and your face in the screen when you join a video call.
We need to be able to hear you. Try to sit in a relatively quiet and private area in your home. Turn off music or the TV during your visit.
We will need you to have some "therapy stuff" ready. Ask your therapist what you need for therapy sessions before your session so you have time to gather the items.
Interested in OT Telehealth?
Check out our website www.imagorehab.com, and look through our Facebook / Instagram pages to see how other adults with stroke are reclaiming their lives and arms with Imago Rehab. Give us a call at 617-671-0789 to get started.