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 by the use of Information and communication technologies (ICT). 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 the practice of occupational therapy. 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:
A reliable mode of delivery
There are different modes of delivering a teletherapy session; these include 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 great barrier to an effective teletherapy session.
Rapport between the therapist, the client and parent/caregiver
For teletherapy to be effective, it is important that a rapport is created between the therapist, the client and the parent or caregiver. When a rapport is established, both the client and their parent/caregiver will be able to fully engage and participate. This then enables all to achieve the goals set.
Everyone needs to 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 the teletherapy.
Identifying the appropriate clients for telehealth
Not all clients can access telehealth. This could be due to varying factors including the nature of the client’s condition. It will be important for the therapist to identity if the clients would truly benefit for 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 huge role to play to make the 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 in time.
Ensure their environments are distraction free
If possible, the spaces that will be 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 needs to ensure that their full attention is on the Teletherapy session.
Take time to learn the channel used for the telehealth
It is important for both the parent and the therapist to understand the basics of how to operate the technology gadgets that will be used for the session. The parent/caregiver should agree in advance on the technology to be used to help them have time to familiarize with it. In addition, a reliable internet connect is important.
Preplanning for the teletherapy by both the therapist and the parent/caregiver is important. The therapist needs to prepare the activities to be done during the session and the ones for the home program. The parent/caregiver needs to 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) and 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 requires learning, practice and patience.
As a company we have chosen to take this new way with the same mindset. 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 the 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 to get 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 question 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 with us on WhatsApp or get in touch with us. Looking forward to hearing from you.
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