Everyone has been affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in some way. There is no doubt that this is a difficult period for all. But for people with disability who rely on people-to-people therapy to get by, the recent developments can add another layer of complexity.
At LiveBig, we are also still learning. At first, we were still navigating the “new normal”. We were unsure of the future and how this would affect our valued clients. But surprisingly, we have realised that meeting virtually has had many benefits for all.
LiveBig’s speech pathologist Cheryl has found the following benefits:
- Not commuting = more time to service clients: Cheryl always loved visiting clients’ homes, but saving time on the commute means that Cheryl can serve more people. Previously, LiveBig had a waiting list for speech pathology services and we still do, but this means that our waiting list has reduced.
- Flexibility with appointments: As Coronavirus lockdown restrictions ease and with students physically returning to school, Cheryl has found that early morning and late afternoon appointments are popular. And she is better able to accommodate these unusual hours as she doesn’t have to worry about leaving the office at 5:00pm. Cheryl has also been able to better accommodate adult clients who need lunchtime slots during work breaks.
- Clients more receptive to online learning: Since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic started, school-aged children have had to adapt to new ways of learning. They are more conscious of hygiene and social distancing, and Cheryl has found that they are more versed in technology and more receptive to telehealth.
- More relaxed settings for clients (and their families): For clients, meeting virtually has also relieved the stress of having someone visiting their home, being less formal. Both clients and their caregivers feel more comfortable during virtual meetings, allowing Cheryl to focus on what is important – increasing engagement and improving therapy outcomes.
- Less pressure: When clients feel like they are unable to answer on the spot, telehealth allows them to take their time and respond when they are ready. At LiveBig, we use RMReach telehealth platform, which also allows users to take control of the screen. Meeting virtually, Cheryl finds that some clients are more confident opening up to her, as it feels less threatening than meeting in person.
- More fun and equally high-quality sessions! When clients are unable to express themselves in words, Cheryl can instruct them to ‘annotate’ via Zoom, enabling them to draw something, and the novel way that the drawings turn out often ends in fits of laughter. This is especially helpful in young children, where Cheryl can ask them to draw something fun, save it on the screen and send it to them later. Traditionally, Cheryl would have clients draw something on paper and then rub it out, but virtually, the task is much easier as they can simply ‘undo’ what they drew. Cheryl has also had a lot of success playing find-a-word games, taking turns with clients.
Are you interested in our telehealth services for yourself or a family member? We are here to help. Contact us.