COVID-19 UPDATES

As citizens and frontline health care professionals, occupational therapists need to be well informed about precautions and protocols that mitigate risks of contact with or spread of the coronavirus. SAOT recognizes the extraordinary pressures members are experiencing both in their day to day lives and as related to their work.  The Society is making every effort to provide current, useful information to facilitate your planning and decision-making and to frame our services in ways to best protect you through these unprecedented times.

What is SAOT Doing?

To support efforts to reduce the spread of the virus, SAOT staff office operations are being managed remotely.  Staff are actively working – we’re open for business and to support you!  Telephone, email and meeting capabilities have not been negatively impacted as we have capacity to work remotely in place.

E: executivedirector@saot.ca

D: 780-238-9111 (we will respond as soon as time permits)

Visit this page for updates and resources!

Order Your PPE Online From Your SAOT Dashboard

Personal Protective Equipment For OTs Working in Private Practice, Schools and other facilities where appropriate PPE is not provided (Paid SAOT Members only)

As of June 30, 2020 occupational therapists working in private practice will need to source their own PPE at market cost. Government orders will no longer be available. More information can be found at this link.

SAOT is making available a limited number of PPE kits for OTs working in private practice for the purpose of delivery of essential services during the pandemic. These are being offered on a cost-recovery basis, based on current market rates we are able to obtain.

Regarding PPE and ACOT Guidelines

OTs are asked to follow ACOT’s guidelines if their employer guidelines do not at least meet or exceed the guidance ACOT has provided. The updated version of ACOT’s COVID Guideline will clarify the requirement for continuous use of procedure masks (or any Health Canada approved mask) that have at least 95% filtration to meet the Level 1 ASTM standard.

This ensures a standardized way to block droplets from escaping/entering the OTs mouth. Please note that eye protection, in the form of face shields or plexiglass barriers, is also required if 2m distance cannot be maintained during service provision for protection of the OT from the client; gloves and gowns may also be required based on the point of care risk assessment completed by the OT.

ACOT does not support the use of cloth masks for the delivery of OT services to clients (although the cloth masks provided by your employer could be used in staff meetings or in staff spaces).

The kits are not intended for occupational therapists who have access to appropriate PPE through their employer.

Standard kits only – no substitutions or changes. No refunds will be issued on these orders. Limit of 8 kits per person – any combination of kits of your choice.

PPE Kits Available

Kit A – $80 plus GST
5 X KN95 Masks (as approved for use by Health Canada)
1 X Box of Gloves (150 count) Size L (fits M-L)
1 X Face Shields (reuseable, recyclable, made in Canada)
1 X Hand Sanitizer (70%)

Kit B – $60 plus GST
10 X KN95 Masks (as approved for use by Health Canada)

Kit C – $65 plus GST
5 X KN95 Masks (as approved for use by Health Canada)
1 X Face Shield (reuseable, recyclable, made in Canada)
2 X Hand Sanitizer (70%)

Kit D – $120 plus GST
5 X KN95 Masks (as approved for use by Health Canada)
100 X Surgical/Procedure Masks (as per ACOT Guidelines)
1 X Face Shield
1 X Hand Sanitizer (70%)

Kit E – $105 plus GST
150 X Surgical/Procedure Masks (as per ACOT Guidelines)

Kit F – $45 plus GST
5 X Disposable gowns

Shipping Information
Kits can only be shipped within Alberta. Shipping is already included in the cost of the kits.

Monday Membership Meet Ups – Recordings Below

SAOT hosted moderated online meet-ups throughout April – June 2020. This was an open forum to allow the SAOT Membership to ask questions, gather support and discuss impacts of COVID-19.

Monday, April 6 @ 7:00 pm : Prioritizing OT services During Emergencies – Watch HERE

Monday, April 20 @ 7:00 pm : Scope of Practice – Watch HERE

Monday, April 27 @ 7:00 pm : Private Practice – Challenging Times – Watch HERE

Monday, May 11 @ 7:00 pm : Impacts of Provincial Budget Cuts for School Based OTs – Watch HERE

Monday, May 25 @ 7:00 pm : Covid-19: Impacts for OT Students – Watch HERE

Monday, June 1 @ 7:00 pm : Private Practice (continuation from April 27 call) – Watch HERE

Monday, June 15 @ 7:00 pm : Impacts for Acute Care OT’s Working in Mental Health – Watch HERE

Professional Liability Insurance – COVID-19 and Virtual Practice

With the rapidly evolving changes in relation to COVID-19 and its subsequent impacts on the workforce in Alberta, many OTs and OTAs are utilizing technology to deliver their professional services, where possible.

Your SAOT Professional Liability Insurance through HDF Insurance has no restrictions in relation to delivering professional services virtually, as long as you are working within your scope of practice and reside in Canada.

SAOT Virtual Workshops, Webinars & Events 2020

 

Vision Deficits – November 6, 7, 13 & 14, 2020 (4 part workshop)

We have moved this event to a virtual format, taking place over four dates (4 x 3.5hr sessions). No action is required from current registrants.

SOS Approach to Feeding – October 15-18, 2020

Proceeding as planned, in a Live Virtual format.

Additional Workshops – Fall 2020

We have planned some exciting professional development opportunities! Please check our events on the SAOT homepage.

Virtual Practice

https://www.osot.on.ca/docs/practice_resources/20_Tips_for_Virtual_Practice.pdf

https://ot.utoronto.ca/blog/going-virtual/?fbclid=IwAR19YK-I9kJYN2vBSC5E5bHKS1URBMcTNP5mQ0mzeVIvK2oSbyDBwp_7uiU

Reliable Sources of Information

To ensure that members are receiving consistent information, SAOT directs members to the following reliable resources of information. We urge all members to be informed, respectful and compliant of advisories and recommendations and to be in a position to inform clients of any implications for access to OT services.

WFOT

WFOT recognizes the COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on the daily lives of many people around the world. To assist occupational therapists at this unprecedented time, WFOT has developed a central registry of WFOT and local/national resource documents, strategies and guidance about occupational therapy and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional Resources

Morning Star Lodge: Indigenous Community-Based Health Research Lab: COVID-19 Fact Sheet and The Protecting Our Home Fires Strategy for Indigenous Communities. Includes activities for those practicing social distancing.

http://www.indigenoushealthlab.com/protecting-our-home-fires

http://www.indigenoushealthlab.com/blog

Caregiver Resources

https://continuingeducation.norquest.ca/home/health-and-community-studies/family-caregiver-wellness-initiative

Employment Related Resources

SAOT recognizes the many potential impacts that the virus, isolation/quarantine or work/school/daycare restrictions will have on members’ earning capacity. We are pleased that there are government efforts to address the personal economic impacts of this situation and urge members to review the following supports:

Provincial Government Supports

On March 17, 2020, the Alberta government announced the passing of the Employment Standards (COVID-19 Leave) Regulation, which is in force retroactively to March 5, 2020. Under this new regulation, employees will be eligible for up to 14 consecutive days of job-protected leave if they are under quarantine. The Alberta government website states that this includes where an employee is: (1) required to self-isolate; or (2) is caring for a child or dependent adult that is required to self-isolate. Employees will not be required to produce a medical note in support of their request for this leave, and they do not have to have worked for their employer for a 90 day period prior to requesting the leave (unlike the other protected leaves under the Alberta Employment Standards Code). Note that the length of the leave may increase if Alberta’s chief medical officer recommends a longer period of self-isolation.

Despite previous government announcements which suggested that this would be a paid leave, employers are not required to pay employees during this protected leave of absence. However, the employee may be eligible to receive a one-time payment of $1,146 in “emergency isolation support” if they must self-isolate and will not have another source of income while self-isolated. The Alberta government has explained that this payment is intended to bridge the gap until the recently announced federal emergency payments begin in April 2020 (details of these benefits are available here). The Alberta government is expected to provide more information shortly on how individuals can apply for this payment.

Federal Government Supports

March 25th – Canada announces Canada Emergency Response Benefit, a taxable benefit will provide $2,000/month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).  The portal for applying will be available in early April.

Coronavirus Benefits & Services

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.  For Canadians affected by Covid-19, the one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim.

Self-employed Canadians can access Employment Insurance (EI) special benefits by entering into an agreement, or registering, with the Canada Employment Insurance Commission. As a self-employed individual, you have to register online with the Canada Employment Insurance Commission to participate in the EI program.

Supporting our clients, friends and families through difficult times

Occupational therapists can be in a unique position to support clients who may be particularly fearful at this time, ensuring they have access to quality, scientific information, by sharing stress management strategies and by leading by example in the practice of precautions.  The emerging situation may require significant limitation or disruption of services or alternatives to direct service delivery (e.g. telephone/web-based consultation) which, if necessary, should be clearly communicated to clients and all referring sources.  Albertans have real need for occupational therapy so we urge you to take care of yourself and your family, engaging all precautions and safe hygiene practices. We want to keep our OT workforce and our membership healthy!

Mental health supports

AHS has boosted its service to help Albertans should they need to speak with someone about mental health concerns.

If Albertans call the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 or the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2323 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., seven days a week, they will be connected directly to a dedicated team of AHS addiction and mental health staff.

This change will allow 811 operators to focus on COVID-19 calls during the day and improve wait times for others needing telephone advice. Calls placed from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. will continue to be routed through 811.

Hope for Wellness

https://www.hopeforwellness.ca/

Online mental health counselling for Indigenous People across Canada

Guilford Press

https://www.guilford.com/covid-resources

  • Mindfulness Audio Tracks and Videos
  • Parenting resources
  • Relationships and Coping
  • Resources for Mental Health Professionals
  • For Educators and School Personal

Centre for Online Mental Health Support

http://www.comhs.health/

Online programs and mental health support for:

  • Adults
  • Parents
  • Adolescents
  • Essential Workers
  • Seniors

DownDog App

https://www.downdogapp.com/

Online exercise programs. Down Dog is offering free programs for Healthcare workers, School Teachers and Students, and community members (Unit May 1st, July 1st, etc). More details on their website.

Mental Health Commission

https://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/mhcc-covid-19-resources

Resources on managing self-care and resilience. Tip sheets for talking about CoVid19.

WHO Resource

Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak

https://www.who.int/publications-detail/mental-health-and-psychosocial-considerations-during-the-covid-19-outbreak

Complimentary Webinar from CTRI in April

Each month the Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute (CTRI) offers a complmentary 1 hour webinar. April’s webinar is Mental Health and Resilience During COvid-19. The CTRI offers a variety of workshops, webinars and resources.

https://ca.ctrinstitute.com/free-webinar/

Suggestions and Tips for social distancing, isolation and quarantine.  Occupational therapists know how important engagement in meaningful occupations is to health and well-being!  At times when people’s routines of daily living are disrupted as they are so significantly by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stay in Touch!

We’re working to keep you apprised… You have our commitment to share information as we receive it and to update this webpage regularly.  Now is a good time to follow SAOT’s social media platforms.  Link with us and share your perspectives on our posts on Facebook.

 

UofA MScOT Fieldwork Update re: COVID-19 Pandemic 

UofA MScOT Fieldwork Update re: COVID-19 Pandemic

The UofA Department of OT respects and greatly appreciates the commitment and effort being demonstrated by individuals and agencies in order to provide healthcare and social services, including occupational therapy, during these unprecedented circumstances.

With the overwhelming support of Alberta OTs, fieldwork placements for our third year (senior) students are proceeding where possible:

  • Level 3a – mid-June to October 2020
  • Level 3b – September to December 2020

Alternate or overlapping schedules, as well as creative supervision and practice models, are being used when necessary. Many placements are engaging students and preceptors in tele-rehabilitation and virtual/remote service provision. The safety of therapists and students and the safety of clients served by occupational therapy in our AB, SK and NWT communities continues to be our top priority.

At this point, we are focused on final placement recruiting for OCCTH 528 (Level 3b) for Nov 2 – Dec 18. If your OT practice is ready, and you are willing, to support fieldwork placements during the pandemic, please contact the Department of OT:

otclined@ualberta.ca

Our department and fieldwork team would like to offer our sincere gratitude to Alberta OTs for the many placements that are underway and have already been offered for the remainder of 2020. Our students are thrilled and very appreciative to have these opportunities to learn and work in healthcare and social services so they can complete the final steps on their path to graduation!

Your response has been tremendous!

Sincerely,

Cori Schmitz

Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education

 

Jutta Hinrichs

Calgary (& Southern AB) Clinical Education Coordinator

 

Department of Occupational Therapy

Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

University of Alberta