The health and well-being of our therapists, staff and clients is our top priority. Since the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, OT Works! has taken precautionary steps to reduce the risk associated with transmission and infection. As BC begins its Phase 2 Restart Plan, OT Works! has developed a series of steps that we will take together. We strive to protect the people in our networks and are committed to resuming operations with thoughtful consideration given towards everyone involved.
Policy, Procedures and Training
OT Works! has developed specific Covid-19 policies and procedures to keep clients, therapists and staff safe. We have provided training on our Safety Plan to all our therapists and staff. We regularly monitor developments and guidance from the Public Health Officer of BC, BC Center for Disease Control, the Government of Canada, WorkSafeBC, regional health authorities and the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC). We review all guidance and update policies and procedures accordingly.
Remote Working for Operations
Remote working is the default mode of business for non-clinical operations. Our office remains closed for staff at this time. Our collaboration takes place online and by phone.
Service Delivery: In-Person and Telehealth
We continue to deliver services by telehealth during BC’s Phase 2 Restart Plan. Our telehealth platform is private and secure. Telehealth remains our preferred method of service delivery when the services can be delivered safely and effectively.
In-person services can proceed for clients whose anticipated clinical benefits outweigh the risks, and only after completing a COVID-19 Point of Care Risk Assessment.
Our therapists will assess themselves daily for symptoms of the common cold, influenza or COVID-19 before delivering any in-person services. They will not conduct in-person services if they are ill, have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days or if they are identified as a close contact of a confirmed case.
Our therapists will limit the number of in-person visits following the recommendation of COTBC to 40-50% pre-pandemic caseloads. All clients considering in-person services will complete a Point of Care Risk Assessment with their OT before the session proceeds and at the start of their in-person session. Upon completion of the screen, the OT may adapt the session plan to maintain the health and safety of both the client and therapist if necessary.
Our therapists will provide clear communication outlining expectations such as requesting clients wash their hands and limiting the number of people in their home/environment prior to the occupational therapist’s arrival. Our therapists will also wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for every in-person client visit and will conduct hand hygiene before and after the client encounter.
Clients are invited to wear masks if they have them and prefer to, but they are not obliged to do so. Whenever possible, the therapist will maintain 2 meters (6 feet) between themselves, the clients, and anyone else in attendance (e.g. family member or employer).
Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Therapists are required to wear face masks for the entire duration of any in-person visit and will follow procedures to safely manage and care for PPE. Training has been provided on the proper use, management and care of PPE.
Therapists will perform proper hand hygiene when interacting with clients. Training has been provided on hand hygiene protocols with specific attention given our operations in the community.
Working with Support Workers
The Occupational Therapist will confirm that remote support worker sessions are necessary by determining feasibility, therapeutic value, the activities involved and the feepayer’s support before proceeding. Any support workers providing urgent in-person services must follow the same safety protocols as all our occupational therapists.
Self-Isolation and Quarantine
All therapists, consultants and employees must self-isolate, follow guidelines from the Center for Disease control and contact 8-1-1 if they travel internationally or develop symptoms associated with COVID-19. Therapists with new or a worsening cough will not work in-person with any clients, client representatives, fellow providers, fee payers, employers or OT Works! employees for at least 5 days after their onset of symptoms OR until symptom resolution, whichever is sooner.
OT Works! has policies and procedures in place to monitor the effectiveness of our Safety Plan.
Questions or Concerns
If you have questions or concerns about our Safety Plan or the actions of our occupational therapists, please contact us. You may also request a copy of our detailed Safety plan via email.
COVID-19 has launched the world into a major transition. Everything we do, and how we do it, has changed. This is a period of occupational disruption and occupational therapists can help. This is what we do.
OTs understand that occupational disruption can be overwhelming, confusing and exhausting. It is normal to feel anger, denial and sadness. But the practical, client-centred approach to OT helps people get a sense of normalcy, routine and well-being; we help people create a new, healthy normal.
OT Works! Approach
We continue to provide quality care to our clients and know its importance while facing occupational disruption during COVID-19. Especially for those who were getting clinic-based services and find themselves without, or with very little, care.
We embrace innovation. We have adapted the way we give care so that it continues to be meaningful and helpful, despite social restrictions. We have:
- Tailored our services to optimize video, phone and text communications (via telehealth and online care)
- Created new, cost-effective, flexible ways to deliver services that weren’t possible in person
- Developed protocols to safely provide in-person care for urgent situations
- Enabled creative collaboration for our therapists, so clients are served best
We protect your privacy and security. We are using Microsoft Teams for video sessions, which is a secure and private platform approved for telehealth use by the College of Occupational Therapists in BC (COTBC) and funders including WorkSafe BC and ICBC.
Tips to Manage Better
Loneliness and inactivity contribute to illness. Our OTs help clients stay connected and maintain a balance of productivity and rest. Here are some tips that our OTs have for you!
- Establish a daily and weekly routine. Having set routines allows us to establish a sense of control over our own lives and even more so during transitions.
- Stay connected. Reach out to friends and access resources and healthcare professionals when you need them.
- Practise good sleep hygiene. A proper sleep schedule encourages increased energy and endurance during the day. Stick to a consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule and avoid light or other stimulating substances (e.g. caffeine, alcohol, nicotine) before going to bed.
- Explore new hobbies and practise existing skills. Learning a new skill or hobby is a great way to defeat boredom and motivate yourself further.
- Be kind to yourself. Practise self-care. Reward yourself for completing tasks and achieving goals. Take a break when you need to. When feelings intensify, breathe deeply and give yourself some self-compassion.
These healthy strategies help us manage the current situation, as well as when the pandemic has passed, and during any other difficult transitions we face.
Lives are changing but you can recover from this occupational disruption. Our OTs are here when you need us.
All of our therapists at OT Works! are certified with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC) and have additional training in areas such as mental health, brain injury rehabilitation, home safety and chronic pain.
If you or someone you know could benefit from occupational therapy during this coronavirus outbreak, contact us today! We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Phone: 604.696.1066 ext 1000
- “Staying Happy While Staying Home: Lessons from Occupational Therapy” (Vancouver Sun)
- “Ten Tips for Sleeping Well During Troubled Times” (First Nations Health Authority)
- “Our mental health won’t be same after the coronavirus pandemic, experts say” (Global News)
- “3 Tips to Reduce Pandemic-Induced Anxiety” (CBC Radio)