What are some ways to ensure occupational therapy services via telehealth go smoothly in Australia?
To ensure that occupational therapy services via telehealth go smoothly in Australia, here are some practices to consider:
- Technology and Connectivity: Ensure that both the occupational therapist (OT) and the client have a stable internet connection and access to reliable technology devices. Test the video conferencing platform in advance to address any technical issues. Familiarise yourself with the features and functions of the chosen telehealth platform to maximise its effectiveness.
- Clear Communication: Establish effective communication with the client from the beginning. Clearly explain the telehealth process, including scheduling, expectations, and any necessary preparations. Use simple and jargon-free language to ensure understanding. Encourage the client to ask questions and address any concerns they may have.
- Privacy and Security: Prioritise the privacy and security of client information. Use encrypted and secure telehealth platforms to protect confidential data. Educate the client on privacy measures they should take, such as finding a private space for sessions and ensuring the security of their personal devices.
- Adequate Preparation: Conduct thorough preparation for each telehealth session. Review the client’s history, progress, and goals before the session to provide personalised and effective guidance. Prepare any necessary resources or materials in advance and have them readily available during the session.
- Visual Demonstrations and Tools: Utilise visual aids, diagrams, and videos to enhance understanding. Share your screen to show educational materials, exercises, or techniques. Use digital whiteboards or drawing tools to illustrate concepts and instructions. Consider sending digital handouts or guides to the client before or after the session.
- Engaging and Interactive Sessions: Maintain an engaging and interactive environment during telehealth sessions. Encourage active participation from the client by asking questions, seeking feedback, and involving them in decision-making processes. Use techniques like role-playing or simulation to enhance learning and application of skills.
- Adaptation and Flexibility: Adapt your interventions and techniques to suit the telehealth format. Modify activities and exercises to accommodate the client’s home environment and available resources. Be flexible in scheduling sessions to accommodate the client’s needs and preferences.
- Collaboration and Multidisciplinary Approach: Foster collaboration with other healthcare professionals involved in the client’s care. Communicate with physicians, carers, or other therapists to ensure a holistic approach. Share relevant information and updates to maintain continuity of care.
- Documentation and Record-Keeping: Maintain accurate and up-to-date documentation of each telehealth session. Record session summaries, interventions provided, progress made, and any recommendations or modifications. Ensure compliance with legal and ethical standards for documentation and record-keeping.
- Client Feedback and Evaluation: Regularly seek feedback from the client regarding their satisfaction, progress, and overall experience with telehealth services. Conduct periodic evaluations to assess the effectiveness of the telehealth interventions and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
- Professional Development and Training: Stay updated with the latest research, technology, and best practices related to telehealth in occupational therapy. Participate in relevant professional development activities and training to enhance your telehealth skills and knowledge.
By implementing these strategies, occupational therapy services delivered via telehealth can be effective, efficient, and beneficial for clients in Australia.
Leanne Hopkins is an Occupational Therapist at Succeed Healthcare Solutions and is passionate about creating a world where families thrive. If you or someone you know is interested in undertaking therapy via telehealth with a team trained and experienced in telehealth for several years, please contact us and arrange a free 15-minute Discovery Interview to see how we can assist.