Transformative allied health education during COVID-19: Barriers and enablers experienced by allied health students using telehealth with people with disability

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Globally, COVID-19 has impacted many people, including those with disability. In Australia, escalating restrictions led to reduced face-to-face allied health services and limited access to supported living or group programs. For universities, a significant reduction in allied health student placements was experienced, with the need for rapid conversion to tele-placements in response to restrictions imposed.
1. Understand experiences of occupational therapy and physiotherapy students participating in a redesigned tele -placement experience during Australia’s COVID-19 outbreak.
2. Identify barriers and enablers to effective telehealth education from students’ perspectives.
Method/Approach: Qualitative methodology was used with thirteen occupational therapy and physiotherapy students consenting to study participation. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed. Content analysis of written student placement evaluations offered triangulation of data sources.
Results and/or Practice Implications:
Nine themes were identified, with both enablers and barriers, and practice implications identified by students using telehealth with people with disability. Three themes related to enablers (increased opportunities for allied health student services for people with disability; skill development and future work prospects; peer support), four were viewed as either enablers or barriers (helpfulness of disability support workers; supervision and support; placement length; technology to deliver supports) and two related to barriers (telehealth complexity and preference for face-to-face input; knowledge gaps).
Conclusion: Tele-placement with people with disabilities is a viable allied health education model. However, for effective telehealth, barriers and enablers require consideration during program design and delivery. Research to evaluate telehealth experiences of people with disability and support providers is now underway.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventInternational Congress of the World-Federation-of-Occupational-Therapists 2022: Occupational R-Evolution - Paris, France
Duration: 28 Aug 202231 Aug 2022
Conference number: 18th (link to where you can search the full program for the abstracts )


ConferenceInternational Congress of the World-Federation-of-Occupational-Therapists 2022
Abbreviated titleWFOT 2022
Internet address

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