Stories from the Field: Implementing Telehealth

The past few weeks have been met with challenges, changes, hope and a whole lot of learning about what is possible! Especially how to support clients and their families through remote or telehealth services. Human service workers and families are reporting benefiting from ongoing connection.  We have been curating a list of tips from the field that can hopefully help you implement telehealth services more effectively.

Tips from Home Visitors

  • Home visitors who have conducted a virtual parent survey mailed the consent to the family ahead of time and had the family take a picture of the consent and email it back to the agency.
  • Home visiting agencies are organizing online learning collaboratives and peer connection webinars for families. The families are finding a lot of value in connecting and staying connected. Topics of these webinars include:
    • The Developing Adolescent Brain
    • Managing Anxiety and Stress
    • Activities to do in the Home with Children
  • Home visiting agencies are organizing drive up food services and pantry food drops for the families that they support.
  • Primary caregivers may be managing multiple children and responsibilities. A quick check in or problem solving via text message maybe more helpful then a full session.
  • See our newsletter for tips on how to use Advanced Home Visiting (Maxwell) via telehealth.

Tips from Behavioral Health Providers

  • Clients and support teams have been very open to participating in video or telephone conversations. However, many prefer shorter sessions due to attention span.
  • If this is the first time connecting with clients via phone or video, remember to review any relevant agency protocols with the client.
  • Try and maintain healthy boundaries such as being available during scheduled appointments and directing clients to utilize specific strategies outside of sessions. This could include accessing natural supports, other virtual mental health groups or crisis providers.

Tips from Supervisors on How to Remotely Connect with Your Staff Members

  • Schedule a morning and/or afternoon check in.
  • Utilize an online survey through Survey Monkey to send an anonymous short survey for staff members to report their experiences with remote work.
  • If conducting a virtual staff meeting, consider breaking it into relevant sessions so that staff members are free to log out.

Remembering Self-Care Activities is Critical.

  • Routine is hard but necessary. Try and maintain a regular sleep schedule and a normal semblance of work hours.
  • Some clinicians are struggling with disappointment and some uneasiness with conducting remote sessions. There are many resources such as free webinars from Drexel that walk clinicians through techniques to implement telehealth services

We would love to learn about your experience with telehealth and add additional resources to this list, please contact Anna at aerb@ametrics.org if you are interested in connecting.

Anna CK Erb LCSW, DSW