A 'new normal' following COVID-19 and the economic crisis: using systems thinking to identify challenges and opportunities in disability, telework, and rehabilitation

Tiago S. Jesus, Michel D. Landry, Karen Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that emerged in late 2019, and later become a global pandemic, has unleashed an almost unprecedented global public health and economic crisis. 

OBJECTIVE: In this perspective, we examine the effects of COVID-19 and identify a likely 'new normal' in terms of challenges and opportunities within the fields of disability, telework, and rehabilitation.

 METHODS: We use a systems thinking lens informed by recent empirical evidence and peer-reviewed qualitative accounts regarding the pandemic to identify emerging challenges, and pinpoint opportunities related to health and changing employment infrastructure of people with disabilities and rehabilitation professionals. 

RESULTS: From our interpretation, the key leverage points or opportunities include: (1) developing disability-inclusive public health responses and emergency preparedness; (2) enabling employment and telework opportunities for people with disabilities; (3) addressing the new requirements in rehabilitation service provision, including participating as essential team members in the care of people with infectious diseases such as COVID-19; (4) embracing the added emphasis on, and capacity for, telehealth; and (5) developing greater resilience, distance learning, and employability among the rehabilitation workforce. 

CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic has become increasingly challenging to the lives of people with disabilities and rehabilitation professionals; however, key challenges can be minimized and opportunities can be capitalized upon in order to 'build back better' after COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalWORK
VolumeVol. 67
Issue numbern.º 1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Novel coronavirus
  • People with disabilities
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Telehealth

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being

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