Telehealth Guidelines

What a week it has been….oh wait… it is only Tuesday. Wow.


As I have had the chance to talk with many OTs across Canada, there is this sense of urgency. PAUSE and BREATH. Many are eager to connect with their clients, so pick up the phone call them and check in. Plan a “Trial” Telehealth session. This is new for both Clinician and Client. No pressure on the first session, just have some fun and play around with the options your videoconferencing platform offers. At Therabyte we are here to answer any questions you have and to step you through the process. Please reach out through our chat or by booking a demo.


The information just keeps pouring in and it is like drinking from a fire hose. Today, COTBC – (the provincial regulatory body for BC, Canada) for Occupational Therapist emailed it’s members with updates and guidelines on moving forward with Telehealth services.


After reading through, I have summarized their information. Please reference the original document for all the details here.

  1. Suspending in-person services – The College can’t tell private practitioners to suspend their clinics or home visits, but refer you to Dr. Bonnie Henry, the BC Provincial Health Officer. She has asked that all non essential services which require physical touch be reduced to minimal levels. You can read more about that here. She further discusses that as a Health professional we have the clinical judgement to determine which services are essential and non essential and who would be best served by use of Telehealth services.
  2. Use of Telehealth – The college (COTBC) indicates that Telehealth can be a powerful tool to connect with clients, however there are things that must be considered.
    • Jurisdiction – Only work in the province that you are registered.
    • Risk Management and Safety – Telehealth isn’t going to be right for all clients or all support staff. Consider user ability for technology and the availability of support staff for technology trouble shooting.
    • Privacy and Confidentiality – Be informed about how you are collecting personal health information. Ensure you are following provincial and federal legislation to protect a client’s personal health information against theft, loss, unauthorized access, use or disclosure.
    • Consent and Client Identity – Consent forms will need to be updated as the service delivery model has changed. OTs need to obtain informed consent for services as well as consent for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.(More on this from us later this week, we will be providing a sample consent form).
    • Documentation – Standards still apply for documentation of Telehealth as with any delivery of OT services. COTBC’s Practice Standards for Managing Client Information


Other helpful resources, regarding guidelines for delivery of Telehealth Services:


College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario – Guidelines for Telepractice in Occupational Therapy (2017)

Province of British Columbia Health Authorities – Telehealth Clinical Guidelines (2015)

OTA (Australia) Telehealth Guidelines (2020)

OTA Telehealth Checklist 2020 for OTs

World Federation of Occupational Therapists Position Statement on Telehealth (2014)

BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services – Practice Guidelines for Video-based Telehealth Services (2014)

College of Physical Therapist of BC

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