Determining Risk

Client Risk

Determine if your client requires services at this time. Consider:

  • Is your client at risk of social isolation?
  • Is your client able to access food, medications, etc.?
  • Does your client have a variable condition which could deteriorate quickly?
  • Are there other caregivers available (this can be family, friends, PSW, other health professionals, etc.)?
  • Are your services addressing safety issues identified previously (e.g. risk of falls)?
  • If services are not provided, would your client be at risk of falls or incidents (consider physical and mental health risks) that could result in a visit to the ER or hospitalization?
  • Can your client be well-served by telepractice options or would their situation, and the essential services they need, be best served by an in-person visit for which all appropriate precautions can be taken?

Telepractice Risk

Determine if using telepractice would create any risk to the client, their personal health information, or yourself (in terms of quality of service provided). Consider:

  • Are you competent at providing services through telepractice? Do you have the skills and training? Can you invest the time to develop these skills? Do you need to modify your practice to ensure you are still providing quality care? Can you practice and still comply with College Standards?
  • Are you able to use a telepractice system that ensures client confidentiality and privacy?
  • Is your client able to use telepractice technology? Would they require assistance at home to manage the technology? Would their physical, cognitive, or mental health status impact their ability to use a technology platform?
  • Does the client’s environment support delivery of services in a confidential, private manner? Will others be in the room?
  • Does your environment support telepractice that is respectful of privacy, confidentiality, and best practice? Can you be in a private, non-distracting environment?
  • Determine the safest and most effective way of interacting with your client.
  • Ensure your liability insurance provider will cover telepractice. (OSOT’s Professional Liability Insurance Policy extends coverage to telepractice for the delivery of occupational therapy services in Canada by registered occupational therapists).

Once you consider these, you may use clinical reasoning to determine the benefits outweigh the risks. If so, you may need to consider the services you provide (you may not be able to provide all services or may need to adapt some practices for your remote interaction).