Nature is my happy place. During a recent morning walk, I was struck by the image of the empty path stretched out in front of me. I was not sure what was waiting for me around the bend – perhaps some horses grazing wanting to greet me or another walker trying to get out of the house and reconnect with nature. But on this morning, in this time of uncertainty, the image took on a different meaning. When will my team be able to resume sessions with children and their families? Thankfully, telehealth has become the answer. Here are some of the things we have learned at Locus on this road less traveled:
- We have been able to more fully implement an evidence-based coaching model of care as parents are now actively trying strategies with their child and in turn feeling more valued and successful.
- It has been easier to accommodate family schedules and observe daily routines such as mealtime or bedtime as they are naturally occurring, which has been invaluable to my team in regards to problem-solving and offering solutions.
- Surprisingly, there have been few if any technical issues that have interrupted or delayed our service delivery and my team has found creative, fun ways to engage and interact with the children via video.
- Families parenting children who are medically fragile have consistently requested that all sessions moving forward be held remotely while other families have expressed an interest in a hybrid approach where some sessions are in-person and others are remote. We hope for the opportunity in the future to honor their requests.
- We have been able to answer referral requests that are in rural or remote areas of North Carolina and typically out of our radius. One parent who lives in the northern corner of our state recently expressed gratitude as her son who has autism has not been able to receive the occupational therapy services he desperately needs for over 18 months. I foresee, if telehealth continues, that my company will be able to serve remote locations and underserved populations.