COVID-19 updates and resources for occupational therapists

The continued spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Canada and around the world will have impacts on occupational therapy practice and study. CAOT is continuing to closely monitor this fluid situation, and has compiled resources to support you during this time. Our top priority as we navigate this pandemic together is the health and safety of occupational therapy practitioners, students, and the clients they serve. Please note that these resources are provided for information sharing and do not replace advice or direction from your College or Ordre. We will update this page as information becomes availableand will continue to empower you to navigate these unprecedented circumstances.

Frequently asked questions
It’s time to recognize OTs as mental health providers
COVID-19 Exchange Forums: Thursdays at 12:00 ET
Economic relief during COVID-19
Telehealth: Practical considerations
Information and resource sharing: Protect yourself and your clients
News from Veterans Affairs Canada
Public Service Commission of Canada National COVID-19 Volunteer Recruitment Campaign
News from OT services insurance providers
CAOT Insurance: Managing practice risk during COVID-19
July sitting of the National Occupational Therapy Certification Exam
Contingency plans for Accreditation
Advocacy
British Columbia updates and resources from CAOT-BC
Member Contributions
Global resources from WFOT
OT-Related COVID Articles

Frequently asked questions

Consult our Frequently asked questions to get information related to the most pressing questions we've received from Canadian occupational therapists, OTAs, and students. If you cannot find the answer to your specific question, do not hesitate to contact Julie Lapointe at jlapointe@caot.ca


It’s time to recognize OTs as mental health providers

Critical decisions are being made by employers, insurance companies, and unions to increase access and coverage for mental health services following the impact of COVID-19. OTs must take action now, to inform decision makers that OTs should be recognized as mental health providers and included in public and private health care plans. 

Now more than ever, we need ALL regulated mental health providers, including OTs, to help with the surge in demand for mental health services for Canadians following COVID-19. OT services are of critical importance to help Canadians dealing with the disruption of COVID-19 and cannot be overlooked.

Send this letter to your employer/union/insurance company asking for OT to be included in your health plan.

Download and share these COVID-19 mental health case studies

Social Isolation


Family Disruption

Returning to Work



 
COVID-19 Exchange Forums: Thursdays at 12:00 ET

The global spread of COVID-19 has completely disturbed all of our meaningful activities. Occupational therapists in every practice setting are impacted, particularly those in private practice. While some information is readily available by our Canadian and provincial public health agencies, many other variables are unknown. We are offering  Exchange Forums on different themes to better understand the various areas of concern of our members, enable resource sharing, and to start outlining a plan to better support your practice in these uncertain times. This webinar is free for CAOT members. 

For any questions related to the Forums, please contact Julie Lapointe at jlapointe@caot.ca or Justine Jecker at practice@caot.ca

Thursday March 26th: Open discussion and resource sharing


Thursday April 2nd:  Practical information for OTs considering telehealth 
Thursday April 9th: Pandemic impacts on the student experience
Thursday April 16th: Addressing the Economic Impacts of COVID-19
Thursday, April 23rd: #OTatHome
Thursday, April 30th: CAOT Practice Networks

Saturday May 9, 2020 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ( Central Time): Indigenous health in the time of COVID: Implications for occupational therapy

A second opportunity to attend!
Friday May 22, 2020 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Eastern daylight time)
Indigenous health in the time of COVID: Implications for occupational therapy 


Pathways to resilience: Strategies for a world in upheaval

Presenter: Rachel Thibeault

This module webinar series on resilience is meant as a resource for those going through rough times and those providing support through rough times. The first module proposes more immediate strategies to regain a relative balance when adversity strikes. The following modules address resilience as a form of training over the longer term, and explore topics such as the physical and psychological prerequisites to resilience, emotional regulation, intentional activities and the impacts of compassion on well-being. The ultimate goal is to offer tools which, once embedded in daily life, allow us to better cope with the hardship inherent to life.

No cost and no registration required for the resilience modules. FREE access held over until September 15th by popular demand!


Economic relief during COVID-19

See an overview of the support that may be available to you and/or your business through the pandemic: Economic Relief during COVID-19

Telehealth: Practical considerations

Our new resource provides some considerations for the safe and effective provision of telehealth for occupational therapists in today’s current practice environment: Practical Considerations for Occupational Therapists who are Considering Telehealth

Information and resource sharing: Protect yourself and your clients

This table compiles resources to support the work of health professionals through the COVID-19 pandemic. CAOT is monitoring the release of resources to the best of its ability. If you are aware of other credible resources to support the work of front line occupational therapists, please do not hesitate to share them with Julie Lapointe at jlapointe@caot.ca

 

Canada

Government of Canada. (2020). Coronavirus D isease (COVID-19): For health professionals . https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals.html

Wellness Together Canada. Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support. https://ca.portal.gs/

Government of Canada. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool. https://ca.thrive.health/covid19/en

COVID-19 Resources Inventory compiled by the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Mental Health and Chronic Disease Network 

Ontario

Ontario Ministry of Health and Ministry of Long-Term Care. (2020). COVID-19: Guidance for the Health Sector. http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/2019_guidance.aspx

College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario. (2020). Information on COVID-19. https://www.coto.org/you-and-your-ot/information-on-covid-19 

Québec

Institut national de santé publique du Québec. (2020). COVID-19 (coronavirus). https://www.inspq.qc.ca/covid-19

Ordre des ergothérapeutes du Québec. (2020). Covid-19.  https://www.oeq.org/covid-19/ 

BC

BC Centre for Disease Control. (2020). COVID-19 Care. http://www.bccdc.ca/health-professionals/clinical-resources/covid-19-care

College of Occupational Therapists of Bristish Columbia. (2020). COVID-19 Updates.
https://cotbc.org/covid19/

Alberta

Alberta Health Services. (2020). Information for AHS Staff & Health Professionals novel coronavirus (COVID-19). https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page16947.aspx

Alberta College of Occupational Therapists. (2020). News. https://acot.ca/news/ 

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan. (2020). Information for Health Care Providers. https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/information-for-health-care-providers

Saskatchewan Society of Occupational Therapists. (2020). COVID-19: Resource List Specific to Occupational Therapy and COVID-19. http://ssot.sk.ca/covid-19

Manitoba

Shared Health Manitoba. (2020). Provincial coronavirus resources for health care providers and staff. https://sharedhealthmb.ca/health-providers/coronavirus-resources/

College of Occupational Therapists of Manitoba. (2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update. https://cotm.ca/coronavirus-covid-19-update

Nova Scotia


College of Occupational Therapists of Nova Scotia. (2020). COVID-19 – Update from College of Occupational Therapists of Nova Scotia. https://cotns.ca/

New Brunswick 


New Brunswick Canada. (2020). Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (Public Health). https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/ocmoh/cdc/content/respiratory_diseases/coronavirus/HealthandAlliedHealthProfessionals.html 

Prince Edward Island 


Prince Edward Island Canada Government. (2020). COVID-19. https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/covid-19

Yukon

Yukon. (2020). Guidelines for the delivery of critical, essential and other services. https://yukon.ca/en/health-and-wellness/covid-19/guidelines-delivery-critical-essential-and-other-services 

Global

WHO. (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak: rights, roles and responsibilities of health workers, including key considerations for occupational safety and health. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance/health-workers 


News from Veterans Affairs Canada

News from OT services insurance providers


CAOT Insurance: Managing practice risk during COVID-19

Considerations When Resuming Practice

Consent To Treatment

With the rapidly evolving changes in relation to COVID-19 and its subsequent impacts on the Canadian workforce, many OTs and OTAs are utilizing technology to deliver their professional services, where possible. This resource, COVID-19: Virtual Health Care Services Ensuring Continuity of Care outlines several key considerations, including as it relates to your liability insurance.

Telehealth consent form 

Your CAOT Professional Liability Insurance has no restrictions in relation to delivering professional services via telemedicine, as long as you’re working within your scope of practice and reside in Canada.

Our insurance partner, BMS Canada Risk Services Ltd., has reviewed our various insurance policy offerings in relation to COVID-19 and addresses specific aspects of policies including Business Interruption, Commercial General Liability and Professional Liability.

COVID-19 Insurance FAQs from BMS

COVID-19 ethical issues for regulated health professionals

Workplace safety and rights of Allied health professionals to refuse work

Business Continuity Planning during COVID-19

Risk Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic

With so many employees working from home, possibly on unsecured Wi-Fi, learn more cybersecurity risk for your business. 



In response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada, CAOT, in partnership with BMS Group and Gowling WLG, have recorded a webinar providing CAOT members with timely information on insurance considerations of the COVID-19 situation.  Hear from experts on the current environment and realities related to practice during a pandemic in our 50-minute webinar “Current State with COVID-19: Telehealth and Liability & Business Insurance Considerations.”

Disclaimer:  This webinar was recorded Thursday March 26th.  Given the rapid pace of change related to COVID-19, this information is provided solely as a guide, as expert advice may evolve as the situation develops. In all circumstances, members of the occupational therapy profession should consult with a lawyer and/or their insurance company for specific information or guidance related to their specific circumstances.

For questions for BMS Group contact: caot.insurance@bmsgroup.com

For Gowling WLG, contact their hotline at 1-855-783-8825 



What CAOT is doing

July sitting of the National Occupational Therapy Certification Exam

In response to COVID-19, CAOT has made an operational decision to postpone the July 4, 2020 National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination sitting to September 12, 2020. Find out more. 

Contingency plans for Accreditation

The Academic Credentialing Council held an urgent meeting regarding COVID 19 issues.  A letter was drafted and sent to the program directors of each University occupational therapy department.. We will keep you informed of any developments. 

Advocacy

  • CAOT has written a letter to Minister Schulte to advocate for seniors in long term residential care and for the development of a health and social strategy in collaboration with older Canadians, their family caregivers, and advocates that puts in place the resources and inter-professional teams, including occupational therapists, that are essential to sustain seniors’ health and well-being. 
  • Occupational therapists are qualified and poised to meet the significant demand for mental health services during and after the COVID-19 crisis, and should be recognized as such by the federal public service’s Public Service Health Care Plan. CAOT is advocating for mental health services by occupational therapists to be accepted in the Plan going forward. Letter to Minister Duclos.

  • CAOT is advocating for the many occupational therapy students/OTAs and recent graduates who are acutely feeling the impact of COVID-19.

    We encourage you to contact your representatives as well: download and customize our template letter then send it to your representatives to advocate for government assistance to mitigate the financial effects of delayed graduation and a difficult job market post-graduation.

    UPDATE :The Prime Minister announced nearly $9 billion in support for students and recent graduates, that includes a Canada Emergency Student Benefit of $1250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. The funding will also go towards increasing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit and Metis students pursuing post-secondary education (Canada, 2020).
    • CAOT is calling for changes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to support to better support occupational therapists who are self-employed and in private practice, and occupational therapy students during COVID-19. Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  

      UPDATE : Our persistent advocacy efforts have paid off; on April 15, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced expansion of the CERB’s eligibility criteria so that individuals earning up to $1000/month can now apply. This will allow OTs who are supporting the wellbeing of Canadians through telehealth to receive the financial support they need. Thank you for hearing us and for supporting essential health care workers in Canada!
    • CAOT has called on the federal government to fund supports for not-for-profit organizations that have lost revenue.  Letter to Minister Joly, with copies to Parliamentary Secretaries Briere, Young, Bagnall, Duguid, Sheehan.
    • CAOT has requested that the federal government quickly announce student grants to enable planning into the summer and fall for completion of professional education. Letter to Minister Qualtrough.
    • CAOT has joined members of the Canadian Society for Association Executives (CSAE) in requesting that the federal government allocate a portion of the recently announced fiscal support to address business impacts to the not-for-profit sector. Letter to Minister Morneau.
    • The Health Action Lobby (HEAL), of which CAOT is a member, has been active during the pandemic:

      • Letter to Minister Hajdu offering to assist with the federal COVID-19 response by conducting a COVID-19 impact survey of HEAL members (40 healthcare organizations) and forming a special COVID-19 Response Task Force.
        • Outcomes from the HEAL survey reveal how healthcare professionals of all types are grappling with a variety of coronavirus challenges simultaneously.
      • Letter to Ministers Morneau and Hajdu with recommendations for new federal measures to support the financial hardships and risks posed to front-line health care workers (FLHCWs) during the COVID-19 pandemic.  



    Member Contributions  

    We have received several contributions from our members who would like to share their reflections, tips, and expertise during the COVID-19 pandemic and have compiled them here for you. If you have created resources that you would like to share, please send them to us at practice@caot.ca for consideration.



    Resources from the Global community

    WFOT has established a dedicated online platform to support requests to network, share and develop resources regarding the impact of COVID-19 and its relevance to the occupational therapy profession. The forum is available on the Occupational Therapy International Online Network (OTION) which can be accessed via this link https://wfot.link/covid19  

    WFOT has also prepared a summarised version of this for consumers/general public about occupational therapy and the COVID-19 pandemic.

    WFOT has additional resources to assist occupational therapists and others providing services during this pandemic. The following are available from the WFOT Resources:

    Position Statement: Occupational Therapy in Disaster Risk Reduction

    Position Statement: Occupational Therapy in Disaster Preparedness and Response

    Publication: WFOT Guide for Occupational Therapy First Responders to Disasters and Trauma 

    Online Learning Module: Disaster Management for Occupational Therapists

    Endorsed Publication: Early Rehabilitation in Conflicts and Disasters

    Endorsed Publication: Responding internationally to disasters

    Endorsed Publication: Disaster and Development: an Occupational Therapy Perspective

    The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the regional office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO), has issued the Rehabilitation considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak. This document provides several key considerations and evidence in support of the role of rehabilitation professionals at the acute, sub-acute and long-term phases of care.


    OT-Related COVID Articles

    As a result of COVID, many of us have shifted from changing our practice temporarily to thinking about longer term solutions that will carry us forward through the years to come. Over the past six weeks, multiple articles have been recommended by occupational therapy colleagues around the world, and we have put together a list of some of these articles that can support Canadian occupational therapists for the months to come. Additionally, we have reviewed the three Occupational Therapy without Borders texts and have provided recommended reading of five articles that speak directly to disaster planning and follow-through in response to a global crisis.

    See the list of articles. 


     

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