Psychosocial experiences of selected pediatric occupational therapists in the Philippines on the shift to telehealth practice during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Philippine Journal in Health Research and Development


Background: At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals including pediatric occupational therapists (OTs) mandatorily had to shift to the practice of telehealth in the absence of a safe inperson setup caused by the outbreak.

Objective: This study aims to determine the psychosocial experiences encountered by selected pediatric OTs in the Philippines brought by the shift to telehealth practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methodology: Purposive sampling was used in the study to gather six (6) licensed pediatric OTs who provide occupational therapy (OT) services via telehealth in the Philippines, and the respondents were not personally connected to any of the researchers. A semi-structured one-on-one interview with the participants through a Zoom call was conducted to obtain their psychosocial experiences. A thematic analysis was used and four (4) themes emerged by the end of the study: consequences of the shift to telehealth practice, changes during telehealth provision, increased resilience, and increased psychological strain.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the transition to provision of telehealth services to pediatric clients has challenged the practices of the selected pediatric OTs in terms of preparing for the session, where one of the main prevalent concerns was toward collaboration and communication with the caregivers; conducting of telehealth sessions, where communication interruption was one of the main concerns; and in ethical considerations, where OTs made it a point that they rectified ethical dilemmas amidst telehealth provision. These experienced challenges also included increased workload and psychological distress, while improved occupational balance and adaptability were most commonly experienced by OTs.