What is telehealth?
Telehealth refers to any medical services being provided over a technology platform or virtually, rather than in-person. This can be done via video chat, such as Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, or even a phone call.
Why use telehealth?
Telehealth or virtual services are currently being widely used due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. It allows patients/clients to continue safely being seen for services during this time. Depending on the client’s specific needs and abilities, the emphasis of virtual services may be placed on parent education, or centered around specific activities directed by the therapist and carried out by client’s with their parents/guardians in the home. The use of tele-health services allow client’s to continue working towards specific OT goals, continue meeting age-appropriate developmental milestones, and decrease the risk of regressing in abilities/skills.
How can I maximize tele-health OT services for my child?
It is no secret that use of tele-health in the home can place much more emphasis and responsibility on the parents/guardians to fully carry out the sessions. It may seem scary, daunting, and quite frankly not very practical; however it is our job as the occupational therapist, to make it seem easy and as fun as possible. Here are
THREE WAYS YOU CAN MAXIMIZE YOUR OT TELE-HEALTH SESSIONS:
- Find an optimal time to schedule the virtual sessions. Timing is everything. When is your child most focused, most attentive, and overall happiest during this day? Is it first thing in the morning? Right after nap time or snack time? Make sure you work with your OT to schedule your child’s sessions for a time that works best for you and your family. Make it part of your child’s typical daily/weekly routine without having to take away from any other typical at-home activities. Prepare them for this time, talk it up, make sure they are ready, prepared, and you have shed a positive light on this new part of their routine.
- Find the best environment to carry out sessions in. Leave the play room, the play room. If your child is used to watching TV in the living room, leave that for the living room. This may involve you getting creative, making a specific space for your child that can be the “OT space”. Maybe its outside, maybe its at the table, maybe its at their own little desk. If you try to carry out sessions in environments of the home that they are used to doing other activities in, it is highly likely they won’t respond well. It is important to decrease as many distractions as possible as well. For example remove anything that might be a trigger for poor attention, this could be toys or games, the TV, or even another sibling or parent.
- Communicate your needs as a parent. Tell your OT whats working, what’s not workin or what might work better. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Remember this is an adjustment.. is it new, it is very different than what any of us are used to. It will take awhile to get used to and find a routine that works, but it CAN work. Don’t lose hope, we are all in this together.