Georgios Papathanasiou , Athina Economou
Occupational therapy treatment in certain medical and health conditions has been consistently found to reduce health care costs and improving the quality of life of the patients. A rising strand of the literature underlines the need for socioeconomic evaluations in occupational therapy interventions. The present study uses as a case study, the occupational therapy department of a Greek General Hospital, the one of Syros island. The paper has a two-fold research goal: to examine the economic costs and revenues of the occupational therapy department and to evaluate the health-related quality of life of the patients of the department, before and after the first lockdown in Greece due to COVID-19, that lead to a three-month shutdown of all occupational therapy sessions. Regarding the economic evaluation part, there seems to be a downward trend in the department’s expenditure, mainly due to the nationwide decrease in wages. However, there is noted a large discrepancy between costs and revenues of the department, due to the insufficient public reimbursement and the low pricing imposed on occupational therapy sessions. On the other hand, health-related quality of life scores of the patients treated, just before the lockdown (in February 2020), differentiate between age groups. For adult patients, there does not seem to be any significant differences in their health-related quality of life due to the disruption of their treatment. Still, for children-patients, a significant number of them seems to have lower health-related quality of life scores after the three-month disruption in their sessions. The results should be viewed with caution due to the limitations in the sample size and information. Still, due to the scarcity of studies in this area, we hope the study can provide some initial research insights on the research topics addressed.
Keywords: Occupational therapy, economic evaluation, health-related quality of life, COVID-19, Greece