What do you do when you’re visiting a patient’s home virtually and they have nothing?
How do you work with somebody who doesn’t have materials?
My answer is this: You go back to basics. You go back to function. You go back to the root of occupational therapy.
If goals were set to be clinic or school-based, you will have to do a re-assessment. With Telehealth we want to focus on how can we help parents with their routine or help our patients be functional at home with their daily activities.
Go back to basics. Focus on function, focus on ADLs. Can Johnny wake up in the morning and go brush his teeth independently? Can he get dressed? Is he potty trained? How’s the sleep routine? Is he eating? Is he feeding himself? Can Susie make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Can she spread the peanut butter? The same applies to adults.
If you were working on supination and pronation, can he/she flip the bread over while making a sandwich? Get creative. Don’t worry about the materials and supplies. If you have them awesome. Use them, more power to you.
If you don’t have them go back to basics. Use pots and pans. Use books. Use Q-Tips, cotton balls, rice, sand, anything the family has, use it. If the family doesn’t have anything, just go back to functional skills. We have our bodies and we have our hands. We can play Simon says using different positions, for example.
We are creative beings. That’s why we’re in this field. Go back to the roots of what OT is: mental health, activity analysis, function, and basic ADLs.
I want you all to get out of the clinic bubble, get away from the previous goals you set. Re-establish new goals. I understand insurance is a barrier, but think about why you went into OT, think about how you want to help people. You guys will have the most successful Telehealth sessions ever if you focus on function!