Telehealth visits are becoming increasingly common as doctors and clinicians work to prevent the spread and exposure to COVID19 and other viruses. Telehealth, or telemedicine, is the use of telecommunication technologies to support long-distance clinical healthcare. The apps and programs used to talk to your health care provider remotely are HIPAA compliant, and protect you and your child’s privacy. Even though telehealth is a productive way to see your clinician, the first time doing a telehealth visit can cause anxiety for you and your child. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I’ve spent time working as a special needs counselor in the school system, and I have three kids of my own. Below are tips to help you and your child prepare for your virtual visit.
Prepare Your Device
Prepare Your Child
- If you are using a smart phone or tablet, you should be able to easily download the required app. Make sure you grant the app access to use the device microphone and camera.
- If you are using a laptop or a desktop computer make sure it has a working camera, microphone and an internet connection. Load and test any required software before the visit.
- Get setup for the the visit in a space where the clinician will be able to clearly see your child, and make sure that you have access to any mobility equipment the clinician may need to see
Prepare the Space
- For younger children, it may be most comforting to hold them on your lap for the visit.
- If your child is old enough, talk to them about the upcoming virtual appointment, and spend some time showing them how the video and audio work.
- Let your child know what to expect by explain that the clinician will be giving you directions to help with the exam. Like looking in their throat, or pushing on their belly.
- Save time by getting your child’s weight and temperature before the visit.
- If possible, have another person around to help with angling the device camera. You may have your hands full assisting the clinician with your child’s examination.
- Make sure your child has on clothing that is easy to remove for the exam.
Items to Have On-hand During the Appointment
- Turn off the television and radio prior to the call.
- Keep pets in another room.
- Make sure you have good lighting, and close the blinds if there is a window behind you to reduce glare.
- For younger children, have toys and a sippy cup/bottle nearby to help keep them busy and engaged during the visit.
- Thermometer, flashlight, and scale.
- Pen and paper to take notes on diagnosis, treatment and follow-up information.
- Name, address and phone number of your pharmacy.
- A list of your child’s current medications.
It takes a little bit of planning to have a successful telehealth visit. The key is being organized and testing your internet connection and audio capabilities ahead of time. Prepare your child for the changes by showing them the equipment and the space you have prepared for the appointment. Give yourself time to troubleshoot by setting up the device and the app in advance of the appointment. Access to telehealth visit with clinicians is increasing and by taking a few prep steps, you and your child will feel more comfortable and the visit will be more productive.