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Kids, Virtual Care and the COVID-19 pandemic: learning from our experiences.


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for remote, in-home options to assessments and treatment of children with disabilities has become an essential part of care. The pandemic has shown the potential of using technology to carry out and support care and treatment at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. However, it is vital that the care that is provided is equivalent to the care that clients and families would receive onsite.


This study will explore the positive and negative features of virtual care in assessment and intervention, compare and contrast the focus of virtual care sessions to in person sessions. This study will also ask what aspects of virtual care need to be changed.


This study will be divided into two parts. The first part will consist of an online survey about the effectiveness of virtual care through the clinician and parents’/youths’ points of view as well as their thoughts on the future use of virtual care and technology at Holland Bloorview. A subgroup of ten participants from the clinician and parent/youth surveys will take part in an individual interview afterwards where they will be able to talk in depth about their virtual care experiences.

The second part of the study will be a deep dive into an onsite Holland Bloorview treatment (speech, occupational or physical therapy) session and a Zoom-based one. The session content, engagement and technology function will be compared and contrasted between each session. All participants and their clinicians will then be interviewed separately to discuss their experiences with each intervention session setting.


Study results will inform virtual care practices, processes and technology at Holland Bloorview and, if the results indicate that virtual care has merit, will support the build of a sustainable service delivery model that is integral and impactful to clients and families and provides greater equity as far as access to care. We hope that the learnings from this study will also help to guide virtual care at other pediatric rehabilitation centres nationally and internationally.


This project was funded by the Centres for Leadership and the generous support of donors and Holland Bloorview Foundation.

Principal Investigators

Sally Lindsay, Co-Principal Investigator

Virginia WrightCo-Principal Investigator

Research Team

Samantha Alfaro, Project Youth Perspective

Carly Cermak, Project Advisor

Lindsey Crawford, Project Advisor

Andrea Hickling, Project Team Member

Lisa Kakonge, Activity Contributor

Alifa Khan, Project Family Leader

Gloria Lee, Research Manager

Andrea MacDonaldClinical Co-Lead

Joanne Maxwell, Project Advisor

Chuanlin Zhou, Research Student



Learn more about this study