PRP012: Adapting primary care rehabilitation practice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Patricia Thille, PhD, BSc(PT); Dayajyot Kaur; Louise Chartrand; Sandra Webber; Brenda Tittlemier; Cara Brown, PhD, OTReg(MB); Tory Crawford


Context: Canadian primary care teams are increasingly integrating occupational therapists, physical therapists, and respiratory therapists to enhance comprehensiveness. There is a risk of under-utilization of their skills in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, across the emergency, transition, and reconstruction phases of the disaster, due to the newness of these professions in some primary settings. As the pandemic disaster response transitions from emergency to reconstruction models, we can enhance primary care response by learning from and supporting primary care rehabilitation professionals to better address community health needs. Objective: We aim to identify promising strategies for primary care rehabilitation professionals to implement, to better respond to the ongoing community health impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Study Design and Analysis: Qualitative, longitudinal diary-interview study, using case comparison analysis methods, plus rapid literature reviews. Setting: Manitoba and Ontario, Canada. Population Studied: A maximum of 24 occupational, physical, and respiratory therapists working in primary care. Intervention/Instrument: For 12 weeks, participating therapists will audio-record diary entries on work-related questions. Questions emphasize new ways of doing pre-pandemic tasks, new tasks since the start of the pandemic, and rapid changes in practice from changing public health measures. Semi-structured interviews in fall 2020 will explore facilitators and barriers to adapting practice, as well as promising models and concerns about gaps emerging from recent practice changes. Outcome Measures: n/a. Results: We anticipate identifying both promising models for primary care rehabilitation practice adaptation, as well as underutilization, particularly when comparing therapists long established in primary care to those new to the primary care team. We also anticipate notable variation between Ontario and Manitoba, given different COVID-19 outbreak patterns and severity. Expected Outcomes: In 2021, we will offer meaningful end-of-grant knowledge translation opportunities for primary care rehabilitation therapists to support adaptation of practice to better serve primary care patients.

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