News – Coronavirus – COVID-19 – Telehealth
Australia, like the rest of the world, is currently affected by the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. This has dramatically changed the way we live our lives, including how we receive health-care. The Australian government has encouraged telehealth so that people can remain safely at home, using phones and video conferencing to receive their essential health care. In NSW, until at least June 30th, we are legally required to stay home or we can be fined and even jailed unless we have a reasonable excuse. When we do leave our homes, we must obey the rules of social distancing.
This means we cannot gather in groups of more than two people, we must stay 1.5 metres away from each other, and we must have 4 square metres per person when we’re indoors. This makes it impossible to safely help you in our building.
The NSW Premier has also announced that social distancing rules will remain in place until a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 is developed. That usually takes at least 12 to 18 months, which is why the NDIS and Department of Health are encouraging telehealth. As a result, like most NDIS providers, all of our services are currently delivered by telehealth.
For most providers, this means continuing services remotely, by using telehealth. But what do we mean by telehealth? How effective is it? Why should we use telehealth?
These are all great questions!
At Whole Family Health, we start the telehealth process with a phone call where one of our therapists asks a series of questions about what sort of equipment you already have at home. We might ask if you have puzzles, or if you have a yoga mat, or if you have balls or board games. We’ll also ask if you have reliable internet and whether you have a printer. These questions help us work out how to best help you.
Our therapists and therapy assistants then spend a considerable amount of time preparing resources for your sessions. For some people, this means we need to do paperwork so the NDIS will provide you with an iPad or computer and modem. For others, we print lots of pages for cutting exercises with scissors. Sometimes, we need to take videos of different exercises and send you a link to YouTube. Sometimes we need to laminate pictures to do matching games with. It all depends on what you already have at home and what the goals of therapy are. Once we have the resources approved and prepared, we either post them to you or drive them to your house.
When it comes time for the telehealth appointment, we will email you an invitation to a Zoom telehealth meeting. We will also email you a Zoom password and use the Zoom online waiting room feature so that our appointment remains private.
Some people worry that their child will not sit still to cooperate with telehealth. But kids love screens, so telehealth is often more successful than you might expect! Also, even though some telehealth involves sitting down, a lot doesn’t – we include all sorts of fun activities in telehealth and will be uploading more pictures soon!