COVID-19 Pandemic Information and Updates

ACOT Operations

Q – Is the ACOT office still open?
A – The ACOT office will remain open at this time to ensure access to the public and registrants. We are adhering to all of the recommended social distancing and workplace and personal hygiene practices. In the case we are required to work remotely, staff will continue to be available virtually to provide support for public and registrant inquiries.
These are challenging times for everyone, our thoughts are with you, your families and co-workers at this time. Please feel free to reach out if you have any further questions: info@acot.ca

COVID-19 Emergency Roster

Q – What is ACOT Doing to Support the Response to COVID-19?
A –
Alberta Health has asked all health Colleges to create an Emergency Roster of those health care professionals able to volunteer to help in any way during the pandemic. This includes existing registered health professionals and recent retirees or those on leave who are still eligible to return to practice.
As we are unable to contact people who are not currently registered with ACOT, please help to spread the word to any recently retired or on leave OTs you know, to let them know ACOT can quickly place them on our Courtesy Register at no cost to assist in pandemic response efforts. To be added to the Emergency Roster please contact the ACOT office at 780-436-8381 extension 105 or registrar@acot.ca.

Additional COVID-19 Guidance

Since our eNews last week we have fielded several inquiries regarding the provision of OT services during the COVID-19 outbreak/pandemic.

Please note that the responses prepared below relate to those that fall within ACOT’s mandate i.e. those that have a connection to public protection legislation relevant to occupational therapy practice to support adherence to Standard 1.2 which states:

“The occupational therapist shall be knowledgeable of and adhere to all relevant public protection legislation, regulatory and professional legislation, bylaws, standards of practice, and code of ethics applicable to his/her/their occupational therapy practice.”

Decisions related to the continued provision of OT services are the responsibility of each regulated member in conjunction, when applicable, with the directions given by your employer or the agency(ies)/funding sources you have contract(s) with.

Q – What duties can my employer ask me to perform during this time?
A –
What is requested of you can vary based on your employer. In general, they can ask you to perform any non-restricted activity (an activity that any health provider can perform) or restricted activity that is listed in the Occupational Therapists Profession Regulation (see Section 17 on pages 9-10 for the listing). That being said, if you do not feel competent to perform any activity you have been asked to do, you can request that your employer offer you the required training to perform the activity safely and competently.

As well, it is up to your employer to provide direction on whether you can/should work from home or whether you are required to be reassigned to assist with other essential duties. Please refer to your employer’s directives for guidance.

Q – I run a clinic/private practice – can my clinic/practice remain open?
A –
Registrants in private practice can access most current directives from the following sources to guide them in making decisions on whether they can or should continue seeing clients or not. All OTs are encouraged to refer to these resources as they have the most current and reliable information:

Alberta Health https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx). Resources for businesses that are remaining open can be accessed from this link.

Alberta Health Services https://albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page16944.aspx. AHS is providing regular updates to the public and employees.

Public Health Agency of Canada https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health.html

Government of Canada https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

Q – I work for a school board – do I have to stop working now that the province has closed schools indefinitely?
A –
If you are on contract or employed directly by a school board, check with them to see how they wish you to proceed. Some are allowing/requesting OTs under their employ/contract to conduct home visits of students/families. If you are requested to do so, we would encourage you to pay heightened attention to your infection prevention and control (IPC) practices for the safety of the students and families you are seeing (and your own safety). For example: no group-based activities; pre-screening to determine whether the child or anyone residing in the home have cold or flu-like symptoms; appropriate use of personal protective equipment; proper hand hygiene practices; proper cleaning of equipment/devices used; etc.

Q – What are ACOT’s guidelines on the provision of OT services virtually? Can I use Skype or Facetime?
A –
Several employers (i.e. school boards) and OTs in private practice are considering use of videoconferencing applications as an alternative to in-person service delivery. ACOT cannot recommend or endorse any particular videoconferencing application/service/platform. Please note that the videoconferencing application chosen must be secure in order to adhere to the requirements of Alberta’s Health Information Act (HIA), the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPP) and/or the Personal Information Privacy Act (PIPA). To protect the transmission of personal and health information, the chosen application must provide end-to-end security and comply with the above listed legislative requirements. While videoconferencing options are being considered, triage or follow-up by telephone is a secure option that can be used immediately.

Please note that the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has prepared an advisory document on electronic communication with clients. They have also recently issued a guidance document on privacy considerations during a pandemic:

https://www.oipc.ab.ca/media/1001934/Advisory_Electronic_Patient_Communication_Jun2019.pdf

https://www.oipc.ab.ca/resources/privacy-in-a-pandemic-advisory.aspx

In summary, recommendations are evolving rapidly so we encourage you to closely monitor the updates provided by your employer and/or the Alberta Government. ACOT will continue to do its best to inform you as soon as possible of any changes that impact our role as a regulatory body.