Telehealth


With the COVID-19 outbreak, telehealth has quickly become the preferred approach to support the continuation of therapy for our clients, while ensuring their health and safety and those of their families and our therapists.

All of our therapists are trained to deliver telehealth services. They are creative, responsive and flexible and can successfully integrate telehealth into their practice.

What is telehealth?
Telehealth is an alternate and convenient way of delivering effective evidence-based allied health therapy services without the need to travel. Telehealth can deliver speech pathology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and psychology using the latest technology (e.g. smart device or a computer) over the internet or phone, through a live video connection.

What are the benefits of telehealth compared to a face-to-face appointment?
All allied health services are considered essential services and telehealth has ensured the continuation of therapy that best meets the needs of your child and family.

There are a number of important benefits to using telehealth technology at this time including: 

  • Eliminating health and safety risks such as exposure to COVID-19 
  • Avoiding cancellation fees and supporting the continuation of therapy service support when you, a family member or one of our therapists has a minor health condition (e.g. runny nose) or difficulties with babysitting for siblings, transport, or any of the other barriers you can often experience in making clinic appointments 
  • Providing a convenient alternative to face-to-face 
  • Eliminating travel times and costs, allowing more time for you and your family 
  • Providing services in your home or other environments (e.g. at school) with familiar surroundings, toys and routines 

How does it work?

Telehealth is very similar to what your child receives in a face-to-face session; it is just done using a computer or mobile device. Instead of being in the same room as the therapist, the face-to-face appointment is virtual; through the use of digital technology (e.g. video conferencing) or over the phone.


If you’ve ever used Skype on your computer or FaceTime on your iPhone, you’ve already used a similar type of technology! A session will run the same amount of time as a normal face-to-face session and you will be guided by a therapist the entire time.


Telehealth is delivered via a secure platform and is kept confidential.  Your
child’s ongoing therapy is our number one priority and will not be diminished by adopting telehealth. 

 

What equipment and space is needed?
Depending on the age of your child and the therapy that is required: 

  • You will require a quiet space that is private with no distractions 
  • An adult to support your child with activities (if needed) 
  • A device (smartphone, computer, laptop) with audio and camera, and access to a reliable internet connection 

Contact one of our clinics to book a telehealth appointment today.

Telehealth is funded through NDIS, Medicare and most recently Private Health during the COVID-19 outbreak. Check with your specific private health fund, if this applies to you as they are updating rebates at different times.

Further questions and answers regarding telehealth…

What services can my child and family receive online? 
Early Start Australia provides one-on-one Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Psychology through telehealth. 

What age is best for my child to access telehealth?
Any age is appropriate. We will personalise our services based on your family and your child’s needs.

What resources will I need at home to access telehealth services?
You will need a reliable internet connection and personal computer or mobile device with audio and video capabilities. An advantage of telehealth sessions is that they are held in the comfort and safety of your own home. Our therapists can use the toys and resources you already have at home to complete each session. 

What type of computer do I need?
Ideally you should use a desktop or a laptop.  Tablets or phones will work but it may be more difficult to set those up.  You will need a webcam and speakers (usually built into your computer). Headphones are optional. 

What type of internet connection do I need?
high speed internet connection is best.  Try and have only the teletherapy session running on the computer and close out any other browser tabs or apps. During the teletherapy session, please refrain from heavy internet use (i.e. video streaming) by other people in your household.  

I’m not very good with technology. Is telehealth easy to set up?
Yes, we use simple software that is compatible with most computers and mobile devices that run on either Windows, iOS, macOS and Android operating systems. You can use an iPad, iPhone, or any other brand of tablet/smart device with audio and video capabilities. Our therapists will guide you through the entire process and provide you with simple instructions to help you get started.

Where should I set up the computer?
If possible, try to find a quiet place with minimal to no distractions.  Have a simple background behind your child such as a plain wall.  Avoid sitting your child with their back to the window because the bright light will make it hard to see your child. Test the video camera angle out so you can see if the camera is showing your child clearly.

For tabletop activities position it helps if your child is sitting upright with their feet on the floor and the desk around elbow height. For movement activities, it would be helpful to have a small open space to complete the physical activity. 

How will I know what time the session is at?
We will work together to establish the best time for the session. You will receive an email with the information for the time and how to join the teletherapy session. 

Do you need the parent or caregiver to stay during the teletherapy session?
Yes, we will need your help to guide your child and direct their attention to the computer screen or activity that is provided.  There will be a learning curve for everyone at first, so it is helpful to have you present to troubleshoot any issues that arise to make the session productive. 

Do I need to prepare anything in advance of the session?
We may send a list of materials that you should have around your house (ie paper, pencil, blocks etc) prior to the session.  You may receive an email with materials that you can print also.

If your child has a favourite toy or activity at home, then it would be helpful to have that close by so we can use it in the session.  Please have those materials ready before the session starts so we can get right to work. 

What happens if the session does not go as planned? 
Remember, when working with children nothing usually does go as planned so the same will be true with telehealth.  There are many things that may occur such as poor connection, video lags, lack of interest in the activity, distractions, and so on.  We can troubleshoot to determine how to improve the session or changes things up for the next session. Together we can help your child succeed and reach their goals. 

What will happen in between sessions?
You will most likely be provided with carry over activities or suggestions for your child to do until the next session.  It may be suggestions to help throughout your daily routine or a specific home exercise program.  We will work collaboratively to determine what is best for you and your family at this time. 

How much does telehealth cost?
Please contact the most suitable  clinic to discuss payment options, including fitting this into your child’s NDIS plan.

Can I access telehealth under my NDIS plan?
Yes, our telehealth services can be funded under your current NDIS plan.

Can I receive telehealth for group sessions?
Yes, we are currently working on this service for families 

Do I need to be a current family/client to access your telehealth services?
We offer telehealth to both existing and new families/clients. No referral is needed to request an appointment for our services.