Can you do online occupational therapy assessments at Umbo?

Across Australia, many people are facing long wait times for speech and occupational therapy. Wait times are frustrating for anyone, but they’re particularly frustrating if they’re preventing you from taking the next step with therapy.

Occupational therapy (OT) assessments can be crucial for unlocking funding, getting therapy started, or even just understanding what is going on. 

At Umbo, we’ve been doing online OT and speech therapy since 2018. We’ve worked out how to do many assessments online, well before the pandemic started. Through a bit of creativity, and a bit of help on the other end of the video call, most OT assessments can be done online.

This is great news for everyone. It means that people don’t need to wait to find a therapist to drive out to see them. Also, even people in remote parts of the country can get access to an assessment almost instantly.

Types of Assessments

At Umbo, we categorise our OT assessments into 3 categories:

  • Green assessments are those that can be done online at Umbo with next to no caveats.
  • Amber assessments are those that require further information/support to be completed via telehealth, usually at the other end of the call to the occupational therapist.
  • Red assessments are those that cannot be done via telehealth, and need to be referred on to a face to face service.

Green Assessments

These assessments can be done online at Umbo with next to no caveats.

Areas of NeedAssessment TypesDescriptionSpecific assessments we might use
MotorFine and Gross Motor AssessmentsThe assessment of motor skills that enable the movements and tasks completed on a daily basis. The therapist will assess the client’s fine and gross motor abilities, i.e., the ability to complete movements that require the use of the small muscles in the hand and large muscles in the body, respectively.Clinical Observations and activity-based assessments
MotorVisuo-Motor Integration AssessmentThe assessment of visual perception and motor coordination skills and the integration of the two, that allows effective communication between the eyes and other parts of the body so that a person is able to complete tasks such as copying, drawing, kicking a ball, etc.Beery Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration (Beery VMI)
MotorHandwriting AssessmentThe assessment of a person’s handwriting to determine areas that require support or further intervention. The therapist will assess handwriting components such as pencil grasp, legibility, speed, pressure, etc.Clinical Observations and activity-based assessments
SensorySensory Processing and Sensory Integration AssessmentThe assessment of a person’s ability to effectively register and accurately interpret the sensory input in their environment. The therapist will assess the client’s ability to receive, organise and respond to sensory input to behave in a meaningful and consistent manner.Sensory Profile 2
DevelopmentalDevelopmental assessmentAssessments completed to evaluate a child’s physical, intellectual, language, social and emotional development. The therapist may complete this assessment to first identify the areas of need following each, other assessments may be completed to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the child’s performance in the areas identified.Developmental Milestone checklist, screening questions, etc.
Social/EmotionalBehavioural/Emotional AssessmentAssessment used to determine behavioural and emotional strengths and weaknesses of clients.Clinical Observation, Parent Interviews, Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale – 21 (DASS -21),
Cognition/Adaptive BehaviourCognitive AssessmentThe assessment of a client’s cognitive skills that includes components of cognition such as attention and concentration, language, learning, memory, perception and problem solving.Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), activity-based assessment, etc.
Cognition/Adaptive BehaviourAdaptive Behaviour AssessmentThe assessment of a client’s adaptive behaviour in different functional areas such as daily living skills, communication, social skills, etc.Vineland 3
Activities of Daily LivingFunctional AssessmentThe assessment of a person’s functioning and ability to perform everyday tasks in a safe manner.Functional Capacity Assessment, WHODAS, other activity-based assessments

Other Assessments and Interventions that can be done via telehealth:

  • Assistive Technology (AT) Assessment
  • Housing Options Assessment
  • Manual Handling Assessment
  • Energy Conservation and Fatigue Management

If you are needing any of these assessments, or know someone who does, feel free to pop a request for therapy in via this page.

Amber Assessments

Amber assessments are those that require further information/support to be completed via telehealth, usually at the other end of the call to the occupational therapist:

Assessment TypeInformation/Support Required
Home Safety/Modification Assessment – This includes assessment for:
– Grab rails
– Hand rails at steps
– Ramps
– Bathroom assessment/modification
A support person is required to be on the client’s end, who is able to manipulate the camera to show the client’s home environment to the therapist. If modifications are required, the support person must be competent to be able to provide accurate measurements of the relevant areas as advised by the therapist. The support person will also be required to supply the therapist with photos/videos of the home environment of the client with the client’s consent.
Equipment Safety/Suitability Assessment – This includes assessing the client’s safety/suitability for:
– Shower chair/stool
– Electric recliner lift chairs
– Over toilet aids
– High back chairs 
Wheelchairs (Manual and Powered)
– Seating options*
Where possible, equipment suppliers would be able to assist with trialling equipment with clients and setting them up while collaborating with the therapist. For more complex equipment such as wheelchair prescription and customising wheelchairs, equipment suppliers will assist with obtaining measurements. 

*If pressure injury assessments are required for prescribing pressure care equipment, it is crucial for a health professional such as a nurse to be present to provide accurate details and photos (where necessary) of the pressure area to ensure the appropriate prescription of pressure care equipment. Where this is not possible, accurate assessment results regarding the pressure injury from a health professional will be considered, however, this may differ from one client to another depending on the nature and level of the pressure injury.
Falls AssessmentA support person is required on the client’s end to take accurate pictures or manipulate the camera to show the client’s environment to the therapist.
Scooter AssessmentScooter assessments cannot be done via telehealth in states where mobility scooters need to be registered and drivers need to be licensed. 
In other states, mobility scooter assessments can be completed with a support person on the client’s end to manipulate the camera to show the therapist when the client is completing the assessment.
Hand Therapy AssessmentsFurther information required on the nature of injury and level of support needed to determine suitability of telehealth.

If you would like more information about what kind of support we require to conduct these assessments, feel free to get in touch via our website. We’d be more than happy to discuss with you how to make these happen!

Red Assessments

Red assessments are those that cannot be done via telehealth, and need to be referred on to a face to face service:

  • Driving assessments – these require a person to be in the car at the time

It’s clear from the above that the number of OT assessments that can be done online far outweighs those which can’t. This is great news. It means more people can access the support they need, regardless of where they live. And at Umbo, giving people access to therapy is built into our DNA.