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Poster Abstracts

Virtual Therapy at a Remote Hospital Collaboration

Authors:

Cheryl Mitchell ,

Carepartners, Canada, CA
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Tabitha Kearney

Deep River District Hospital, CA
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Abstract

Introduction: In February 2020, CarePartners, a home care provider that offers a “full basket” of services across Ontario, Canada, launched CarePartners Connect, a secure, electronic, communication platform that allows patients and families to communicate remotely with their provider in real-time, allowing for virtual consults, follow-up and monitoring. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated CarePartners’ deployment and broadened the scope to all Registered Health Professionals in the organization. In February 2021, Deep River and District Hospital (DRDH) in Deep River, Ontario approached CarePartners to develop a virtual therapy model to support inpatients with physiotherapy services due to local staffing shortages.

Aims, Objectives, Theory or Methods: Access to therapy services in rural, remote and northern communities has been a challenge to many Ontarians across the province. As with many other health care staff, recruitment and retention of therapists in rural and remote areas can be a barrier to patient accessibility to these key services. CarePartners partnership’ with DRDH enabled a virtual model where a CarePartners physiotherapist (PT) collaborated with a physiotherapist assistant (PTA) located within the hospital at the patient bed side, over 600 km away. 

Highlights or Results or Key Findings: For hospital patients eligible for physiotherapy services, the PTA completes a new referral form and securely shares details with the physiotherapist through the CarePartners Connect roster feature. After reviewing the referral form, a joint virtual visit between the PTA and PT is held, with the PTA in the hospital at the patient bedside. Following the visit, the PT charts and virtually submit copies to the PTA through CarePartners Connect. Under the direction of the PT, the PTA can complete treatments with the patients without the PT having to be present. The PTA and PT continue to securely share charting updates, where the PT can review progress of patient care until discharge.

Providers found that the virtual collaborative model had a positive impact on patient outcomes, and provider experience. It provided access to physiotherapy for patients living in rural areas, and supported recovery to ensure safe and timely discharge from hospital.

Conclusions: CarePartners’ experience with implementing a virtual therapy model with a remote hospital demonstrates the value of innovative collaboration, all while harnessing the power of virtual care and digital support. This integrated model supports care centred around each patient, all while fostering innovative collaboration across organizations.

Implications for applicability/transferability, sustainability and limitations: CarePartners sees continued opportunities to leverage virtual care to integrate care at transition points or to support warm handoffs across sectors; to support equitable access for harder to reach areas; and gain efficiencies to build additional capacity in the system. Early patient experience data shows increased desire for virtual care.
How to Cite: Mitchell C, Kearney T. Virtual Therapy at a Remote Hospital Collaboration. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022;22(S3):375. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.ICIC22365
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Published on 04 Nov 2022.

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