by Jennifer O'Neil, PT, PhD (candidate)

In uncertain times and need for social distancing, implementation of telerehabilitation services is spiking in Canada. Remote delivery of physiotherapy is an ideal model to support ongoing physiotherapist services during this period, especially for the most vulnerable.

However, speeding up implementation of this new model of care and cutting corners due to urgency is not recommended. We must research, be diligent, and acquire the proper training and skills prior to launching such services. Overlooking these important steps could lead to poor quality of care, poor sustainability, increase fear of use from clients, and poor confidence from therapists. Overall, reducing the quality of physiotherapy in Canada.

We strongly recommend you seek experts in the field and read all guidelines proposed by your college, association, and CARP prior to launching this delivery model.

Stop, and ask yourself these questions prior to implementing tele-rehabilitation services:

  1. Is tele-rehabilitation appropriate for this client?
  2. Do I have the skills and training to provide remote physiotherapy to my clients?
  3. Am I providing evidence-based informed remotely delivered physiotherapy services?
  4. Does this client have the required technology to support remote delivery?
  5. Does this client need technical support or in-home support to facilitate your session?
  6. What is your “big picture” goal for this remote session; consultation? Education? Assessment? Treatment?
  7. Which platform will allow you to provide the same quality care as face-to-face?
  8. Is the setting on the client’s end a safe, secure, and confidential environment?
  9. Is my environment appropriate for this delivery model (high speed internet, confidential setting, consent, and PIPEDA compliant platform, etc.)?
  10. Am I following all of the required guidelines from my college?

Please review all guidelines from your licensing province: