Speech Pathology Telehealth Services
Our practitioners will assess individual client needs and determine the appropriateness of this method of service delivery on a case-by-case basis. Our practitioners are familiar with technology and platform functionality prior to engaging in services and will be able to familiarise and guide clients, parents and carers.
We have developed procedures and protocols to manage training and navigate technical support issues as they arise.
Speech pathologists will consider a range of factors that may impact the provision of services, including:
- Sensory and physical characteristics: This may include vision, hearing, motor dexterity, physical endurance and positioning;
- Cognitive, behavioural and motivational characteristics. We will consider attention, ability to sit and focus on a computer, understanding and perception of a remote interaction;
- Communication characteristics, including auditory comprehension, sign language use, speech intelligibility, skill and need for written language, use of AAC, severity of communication deficits and their impact; and
- Support resources, such as the availability of technology, the ability of carer to support technology and the service provision.
FAQ's about Telehealth
The acquisition and use of technology will be driven by client needs. Our speech pathologists are encouraged to familiarise themselves with technology options and how they can be implemented to accommodate specific situations.
Areas we will consider may include:
We will identify what computer/device will be used at the client site and determine if the processing speed and memory will support videoconferencing. We will identify whether the device requires the client to sit at a desk or if it offers some flexibility and mobility.
Internal (embedded) webcams may facilitate face-to-face communication. External webcams or document cameras permit flexibility in observing or the ability to view work performed on a horizontal surface.
We will assess whether the client microphone/speakers permit appropriate observation and communication. Some environments or communication needs may require a headset.
Screen share, whiteboards, drawing tools and shared keyboard/mouse controls are features commonly used by our practitioners. We only utilise platforms with the highest security features. We do not use free versions of videoconference platforms.
We will determine that the internet at both the client and clinician site supports a clear connection. This can be assessed from websites such as https://www.speedtest.net/. All you need is a minimum of 350Kbps for both upload and download.
In the majority of cases, it is beneficial or necessary to have a parent or carer present with the client. This person will assist to resolve technical issues, provide support service provision as appropriate, manage materials and camera angles, verify observations, and respond to urgent situations.
Parents and carers are key in ensuring that the client’s environment is private, secure, and distraction-free. Although some clients may be safely and effectively served without a parent or carer, having someone else present helps to reduce risk and promote generalisation of skills to other contexts.
Depending on the situation, the parent/carer role could be filled by AHAs, partners, teachers, support workers, or other professionals. Our speech pathologists will evaluate individual procedures and determine whether a parent or carer requires specific skills to support them and if the parent or carer has the skills to support a session.
Speech pathologists should help parents and carers understand the role of each person in the interaction and any activities, materials, etc. that are required in a session.
NDIS: Yes. Clients being served under NDIS, regardless of how their plan is managed, may receive speech pathology services through Telehealth.
Medicare: New temporary Telehealth items have been introduced as a result of COVID-19. Please see the Medicare homepage as this information may change.
Private Insurance: Various Private Health Funds (PHFs) who have extras cover for speech pathology will be able to make a claim for speech pathology services delivered via Telehealth. Clients are advised to contact individual insurers to determine whether this would be covered by their policy.
All of our ACT based Practitioners are able to deliver Telehealth appointments. We also have Practitioners that can deliver services from interstate via Telehealth from as far away as the rural Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland.