Telerehabilitation Delivery in Canada and the Netherlands: Results of a Survey Study


Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, telerehabilitation (TR) has been expanding to address the challenges and risks of in-person delivery. It is likely that a level of TR delivery will continue after the pandemic because of its advantages, such as reducing geographical barriers to service. Many pandemic-related TR initiatives were put in place quickly. Therefore, we have little understanding of current TR delivery, barriers and facilitators, and how therapists anticipate integrating TR into current practice. Knowing this information will allow the incorporation of competencies specifically related to the use and provision of TR into professional profiles and entry-to-practice education, thereby promoting high-quality TR care.


This study aimed to obtain a descriptive overview of current TR practice among rehabilitation therapists in Canada and the Netherlands and identify perceived barriers to and facilitators of practice.


A web-based cross-sectional survey was conducted with occupational, physical, and respiratory therapists and dietitians in Canada (in French and English) and the Netherlands (in Dutch and English) between November 2021 and March 2022. Recruitment was conducted through advertisements on social media platforms and email invitations facilitated by regulatory and professional bodies. The survey included demographic and practice setting information; whether respondents delivered TR, and if so, components of delivery; confidence and satisfaction ratings with delivery; and barriers to and facilitators of use. TR satisfaction and uptake were measured using the Telehealth Usability Questionnaire and modified Technology Acceptance Model. Data were first summarized descriptively, and then, comparisons were conducted between professions.


Overall, 723 survey responses were received, mostly from Canada (n=666, 92.1%) and occupational therapists (n=434, 60%). Only 28.1% (203/723) reported receiving specific training in TR, with 1.2% (9/723) indicating that it was part of their professional education. Approximately 19.5% (139/712) reported not using TR at all, whereas most participants (366/712, 51.4%) had been using this approach for 1 to 2 years. Services delivered were primarily teleconsultation and teletreatment with individuals. Respondents offering TR were moderately satisfied with their service delivery and found it to be effective; 90.1% (498/553) indicated that they were likely to continue offering TR after the pandemic. Technology access, confidence, and setup were rated the highest as facilitators, whereas technology issues and the clinical need for physical contact were the most common barriers.


Professional practice and experience with TR were similar in both countries, suggesting the potential for common strategic approaches. The high prevalence of current practice and strong indicators of TR uptake suggest that therapists are likely to continue TR delivery after the pandemic; however, most therapists (461/712, 64.7%) felt ill prepared for practice, and the need to target TR competencies during professional and postprofessional education is critical. Future studies should explore best practice for preparatory and continuing education.

Reference Giesbrecht, E., Major, M. E., Fricke, M., Wener, P., van Egmond, M., Aarden, J. J., Brown, C. L., Pol, M., & van der Schaaf, M. (2023). Telerehabilitation Delivery in Canada and the Netherlands: Results of a Survey Study. JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies, 10, Article e45448.
Published by  Urban Vitality 1 January 2023

Publication date

Jan 2023


Edward Giesbrecht
Mel E Major
Moni Fricke
Pamela Wener
Cara L Brown


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