Communication in telerehabilitation

Many services and clinicians are rapidly moving to offer telerehabilitation services in response to Covid-19 and the difficulties in providing face-to-face care. It is clear that telerehabilitation is effective for many forms of rehabilitation, however it is not always straight forward to implement. One reason is that communication is different. In telerehabilitation, we lose nonverbal communication modalities such as touch.

Nonverbal communication is also a key way in which we convey emotion, prompts for action, and information about health and wellbeing. This means we become highly dependent on verbal communication. There are some things that need to be considered to really maximise communication, both before telerehabilitation sessions, and within these sessions.


The documents here provide a synthesis of material from the literature, expert clinicians and organisations experienced in telehealth. They provide a range of suggestions to optimise communication, engagement and therapeutic relationships in telerehabilitation.

These documents are designed to be living documents – if you have areas that haven’t been addressed or resources that you think could be incorporate, please contact Felicity Bright.

Communication and engagement

Communication and engagement are critical in rehabilitation. Through communication, clinicians develop relationships with clients, getting to know who they are, what they need from the clinician, what really matters to them, and how the clinician needs to work with them.

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