With the current COVID-19 global pandemic, It has become necessary for therapists to change how they conduct their therapy sessions. As with other business services, and in light of social distancing requirements, therapy sessions have had to go online, thus the increased need for Teletherapy.
What is Teletherapy?
Teletherapy is any therapy conducted using Information and communication technologies (I.C.T.). The therapy sessions may be done in real-time (e.g., through video-conferencing or other live virtual interactions using applications – Apps) or be prerecorded, stored/saved, and forwarded by a therapist to their patient (e.g., through videos, photos, or even electronic mail).
Teletherapy can be used for online consultation, evaluation, intervention, monitoring, and supervision of patients.
Teletherapy sessions should always be done as permitted by jurisdictional, institutional, and professional regulations and policies governing occupational therapy practice. In addition, the therapy services provided via Teletherapy should meet the same standards of care as services delivered in person.
How Effective is Teletherapy?
Teletherapy enables therapists to “meet with” their patients online and thus continue with the Therapy as they otherwise would, especially when it is impossible for a one-on-one session.
For Teletherapy to be effective, it is reliant on the following:
A reliable mode of delivery
There are different modes of delivering a teletherapy session, including real-time video conferencing using software such as Zoom, Skype, and even WhatsApp video. Technical and communication problems with the selected technology can be a significant barrier to a practical teletherapy session.
Rapport between the therapist, the client and parent/caregiver
For Teletherapy to be effective, a rapport must be created between the therapist, the client, and the parent or caregiver. When a connection is established, the client and their parent/caregiver can fully engage and participate. This then enables all to achieve the goals set.
Everyone must prepare for the teletherapy session; the therapist, the client, and the parent/caregiver. A lack of preparation from one participant in the session can affect the effectiveness of Teletherapy.
Identifying the appropriate clients for telehealth
Not all clients can access Telehealth. This could be due to varying factors, including the client’s condition. It will be necessary for the therapist to identify if the clients would genuinely benefit from Teletherapy before offering them the service.
What is the role of the therapist and the parent/caregiver in Teletherapy?
The therapist and the parent/caregiver have a considerable role in making Teletherapy enjoyable and successful. They need to:
Set a consistent day and time for the teletherapy sessions
Consistency is King even in the teletherapy world. The occupational therapist should maintain a consistent schedule while the parent/caregiver ensures that the client is ready and available for the teletherapy session.
Ensure their environments are distraction free
The spaces used during the teletherapy session should have little or no noise and have simple backgrounds to avoid distractions. The therapist, the client, and the parent need to ensure their full attention is on the Teletherapy session.
Take time to learn the channel used for the telehealth
The parent and the therapist need to understand the basics of operating the technology gadgets used for the session. The parent/caregiver should agree in advance on the technology to be used to help them have time to familiarize themselves with it. In addition, a reliable internet connection is essential.
Preplanning for Teletherapy by the therapist and the parent/caregiver is essential. The therapist must prepare the activities to be done during the session and the ones for the home program. The parent/caregiver must ensure the child/student is ready at the right time. In addition, the caregiver should ensure the room used is therapy-friendly (adequate space for movement, comfortable table, and chair for fine motor work). It has reliable access to the technology to be used.
Taking on something new requires one to be open to possibilities, and so it is with Teletherapy. The new journey for therapists. Clients and parents/caregivers worldwide need learning, practice, and patience.
We have chosen to take this new way with the same mindset as a company. We are open to positive possibilities and are able and willing, through our teletherapy services, to help the many clients and parents/caregivers who cannot access traditional therapy services at this time.
If you would like to access our Teletherapy services, kindly click on this link to book a session and let’s take this new journey together for the betterment of your child.
We would love your feedback as a parent, guardian, or therapist concerning Teletherapy. Do you have experience with Teletherapy?
How was the experience? Feel free to ask any relevant questions or leave a comment or even a compliment. We will be happy to answer your question and reply to your comments.
You can also chat on WhatsApp or get in touch with us. Looking forward to hearing from you.
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My 4 year old Autistic Teacher
AlisonApril 27, 2020
Thanks for this article. Teletherapy is definitely the way to go. I've had one consultation so far and it was effective. Good job Dynamic OT
Lincoln kabanyaApril 27, 2020
This is very very educative Perpetua thanks. It's worth investing in it beyond covid 19
Lincoln kabanyaApril 27, 2020
Due to cost implications, it's a high time we push insurance companies to support and reimburse for clients undergoing teletherapy especially at this unprecedented times of covid.
Erika BradyAugust 18, 2020
Thanks for explaining how online counseling is available through teletherapy and how it's important for them to meet the same care standards as if you meet face to face. In order to figure out the level of care they offer, maybe it would be useful to read reviews and to also contact potential telecounseling services in order to set up a meeting with them.