Telehealth during COVID19
What is Telehealth?
There is lots of talk in the media at the moment about Telehealth as the Government pushes for a safer way of delivering health services in this current climate. As the virus progresses, ESSP have made the decision to keep their staff and clients safe by offering Telehealth as an alternative to clinic appointments. We aim to be a thriving, virtual practice during this time.
Telehealth for speech pathology assessment and intervention is well researched and there is strong evidence to support great outcomes for clients. It’s a great option to keep up intervention with both the client and therapist home and well.
We use a program call Coviu that is based in Australia and meets our strict privacy regulations. You can check it out here: https://www.coviu.com/about/
We will be creating easy videos and step by steps sheets so it’s even easier to access.
How will it benefit me/my child?
The great news is that there is lots of research around Telehealth and its benefits. We have been offering Telehealth sessions to regional and remote communities for over a year now, so we feel really confident offering it as a service model.
In this crazy time, it means that you can continue with your goals, but from the comfort and safety of your own home. The sessions are super interactive and fun.
Why is it important that I don’t stop therapy intervention over this time?
This is a new era that we are all facing. It is scary and changing every day. Thank goodness, it appears that the virus doesn’t affect children as much. However, they are still being impacted by the conversations they are over hearing, schools closing their doors, changing in work environments and care arrangements.
It is really important that through this time we are still giving children and adult clients the opportunity for routine and growth.
We are not sure yet if, or when there will be a lockdown and what that will look for Australia or how long it might be in place for. What we do know, is that without consistent speech pathology intervention, children and adult clients may regress or stall on their communication goals.
What about evidence, does it work for everyone?
There is strong evidence that Telehealth works for:
- Speech and language disorders
- Autism; a parent teaching and collaboration approach
- Social communication skills
Telehealth can also work for the adult population in providing language intervention and swallowing assessments.
If you are worried that Telehealth may not be their right option for you or your child, then give us a call and we can look at some alternative options for you. Perhaps we could make a home program for you or do a weekly phone consult. There are lots of options to keep your child accessing quality speech pathology intervention over this time.
Speech Pathology Australia has released a great position statement on this and if you are interested in reading, you can find it here.
What do I need for me or my child to access Telehealth?
- Internet: min of 0.35 Mbps up and down – could be NBN, ADSL or 4G hot-spotted
- Devices: Laptop, desktop, iPad or Android Tablet with access to the camera and microphone in the device (or attached separately)
- Software: Google Chrome, Coviu app for iOS/iPad (free download)
- We will email you the link to click on for each session
- A quiet space- if possible!
What funding options are available?
NDIS approve the use of Telehealth; if you are agency or plan managed we will process the payment as usual, if you are self-managed then we will ask you to provide us with your credit card details, or you can transfer the appointment fee into our account.
Check with your own health insurance to see if they cover the costs of telehealth. Some do! But it depends on your plan and who you are with. We will provide you with the receipt once paid to provide to your insurance.
At this stage we can’t claim Telehealth through Medicare, however watch this space! We think the government may announce soon that for those children and adults with and EPC that we will be able to claim those sessions through Telehealth.
How does it help Early Start Speech Pathology?
We are a small business and our only income stream is seeing clients on a daily basis. Just like every small business in Australia, right now, we are worried for the short term and long term and what this could mean for Early Start. By keeping up with your sessions, you are helping us to continue to pay our wonderful staff and keep our doors (virtual doors) open. We are all in the same boat, with children and mortgages to pay. We know that Australia will come back from this better and, stronger than ever, we’re a resilient bunch as long as we work together and look out for each other in our communities!
We look forward to seeing you online soon!