Toronto Rehab's Telerehabilitation Toolkit was released in the fall of 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic. After receiving positive feedback from patients and clinicians, the team has launched a second edition that includes more content and examples of telerehab in action. (Photo: UHN)

How Toronto Rehab continues to enhance Telerehabilitation at UHN and beyond

A team of researchers and clinicians at Toronto Rehab has launched the second edition of their Telerehabilitation Toolkit, marking UHN's continued dedication to enhancing virtual care worldwide.

Toronto Rehab's Brain Rehab Program and UHN's KITE Research Institute launched Version 2.0 of the toolkit last month after receiving feedback from users to help tailor the original version.

The new edition includes 12 new patient-facing and clinician-facing videos of different telerehab scenarios in action.

"We created these videos because we know that the present and future of rehabilitative care means that organizations and providers rely more heavily on technology to support their patients," says Dr. Meiqi Guo, Medical Director, Brain Program, Toronto Rehab.

"These videos will help inform patients and clinicians more holistically about how to improve, evaluate and participate in telerehab, an area that has seen increased demand since the onset of COVID."

The videos, which can be accessed on YouTube, include topics from assessing balance and mobility in telerehab, choosing in-person or hybrid approaches to rehab, and preparing for your first telerehab session as a patient.

The team launched the first edition of the Telerehabilitation Toolkit in the fall of 2020, shortly after the onset COVID-19 pandemic, and it was widely downloaded across Canada and around the world.

But the impact of the toolkit goes far beyond the pandemic, as telerehab has since become a staple in rehabilitative care.

The toolkit set itself apart from similar initiatives by also including hands-on resources such as telerehab patient safety checklists, measures of balance and mobility that can be administered virtually and patient handouts on preparing for telerehab. It is available to rehab centres worldwide at no cost.

"The Telerehabilitation Toolkit reflects our heartfelt intention to remove as many barriers as possible, to delivering safe, efficient, and patient-centred rehabilitation," says Dr. McKyla McIntyre, physiatrist at Toronto Rehab and a member of the development team.

"We continue to welcome user feedback to better help rehabilitation organizations and providers implement, improve, and evaluate virtual rehabilitation worldwide."

The goal for this year's Grocery Gift Card Fund at the UHN Centre for Mental Health is to raise $3,500 to deliver $50 pre-paid cards to 70 patients. (Photo: UHN)

Staff delivering holiday cheer to patients at UHN's Centre for Mental Health

Over the past eight years, more than 800 low income patients with UHN's Centre for Mental Health have benefitted from the Grocery Gift Card Fund, a staff-driven fundraising initiative that's provided upwards of $40,000 in food.

The program delivers $50 pre-paid grocery gift cards to patients dealing with poverty and food scarcity in addition to their mental health concerns. The cards arrive unexpectedly, and are a welcome surprise to individuals often reliant on community food banks.

"Science reminds us that you need a healthy diet for strong muscles and bones, but the link between eating nutritiously and positive mental health isn't highlighted to the same extent and is just as crucial," says Angela McGerrigle, administrative assistant at the centre's Neuropsychiatry Service, and co-lead on the Grocery Gift Card project with Laila Nazir, a fellow administrative assistant in the same unit.

The goal is to raise $3,500 so they can deliver some holiday cheer to 70 patients later this month.

But with the escalating cost of groceries – Statistics Canada reports an 11 per cent annual increase – the program can't provide the same amount of fruits and vegetables it once did. This price surge is a problem for everyone, but especially for low income patients with chronic mental illness.

"These patients are suffering, with their mental health and the cost of living," says Laila. "Just to help them put food on the table for a few nights can make a difference and provide a sense of hope."

Donations to the Grocery Gift Card Fund can be made throughout the year. Tax receipts are available via UHN Foundation for donations of $20 or more.

For more information on the Grocery Gift Card Fund email

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