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EXPEDITED PUBLICATION, ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 69  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 722-728

Tele-rehabilitation for visually challenged students during COVID-19 pandemic: Lesson learned


1 Community Ophthalmology, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Country Director & Managing Trustee: CBM, Charmarajpet, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Cornea, Cataract & Refractive Services, Dr Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Suraj Singh Senjam
Room No. 791, 7th Floor Community Ophthalmology, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_2527_20

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Purpose: The COVID-19 outbreak poses a global crisis in health care delivery system, including habilitation and rehabilitation services. In this study, we shared our experiences on telerehabilitation services established primarily for students with visual disabilities (SwVD) amidst COVID-19 pandemic and its outputs. Methods: Following the lockdown declared on March 23, 2020, the rehabilitative team of a tertiary eye center in north India received information that many visually challenged students (VCS) were stranded in schools for the blind in Delhi, and feeling with anxiety and panic in absence of teachers. Shortly, the room for vision rehabilitation clinic was set-up for telefacilities. The intended services were explained while disseminating the mobile numbers. A semi-structured questionnaire consisting of closed and open-ended was developed to record COVID-19 knowledge and concerns. Inductive content analysis was used to report the qualitative information. Results: As of June 30, 2020, a total of 492 clients contacted the team, with maximum from Delhi (41.5%), and predominantly males (78.8%). Around 80.3% of callers were VCS with age range of 11 to 30 years. The two most frequently encountered health needs were itching in eyes (36.1%) and headache (29%). Television news was the most used medium among callers to get COVID-19 information. Cough is a less frequently known mode of transmission (28%), similarly handwashing as a less known for prevention (17.2%). Eight concerns were recorded based on qualitative data analysis. Conclusion: Telerehabilitation provides valuable insights and has the potential to address various concerns, uncertainty, anxiety, and fear among VCS during the pandemic.


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