As the healthcare system adjusts to the COVID-19 crisis, teletherapy is becoming the preferred service delivery model for many speech-language pathologists (SLPs). The good news is that teletherapy can be an effective way to continue providing treatment while reducing the health risk to everyone.

However, if teletherapy is new to you, it can feel a bit overwhelming knowing where to start. Lingraphica has six tips to get you started:

  1. Read up: Get educated about the major issues related to telepractice. ASHA has a thorough guide covering roles, ethics and reimbursement, among other things. As policies change rapidly regarding reimbursement for teletherapy, ASHA is likely to have the most updated information.
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  1. Set up a solid technical foundation: Make sure you have the equipment you need for a session without technical issues. Hardwire into an Internet connection if possible and use high-quality webcams and microphones.

Using a headset can improve audio quality significantly. Setting up in a well-lit, quiet area will make it easier for your patient to see and understand you.

Additionally, choose an appropriate platform for delivering services. If your facility has not provided a telehealth platform, remember that everyday platforms (for instance, Skype) might not be HIPAA-friendly. Some good, HIPAA-compliant choices include:

  1. Enlist a helper: Having a family member or other caregiver to support your session will help it run smoothly. This person is crucial for helping with technology, following SLP instructions, and reducing client frustration. Make sure the helper also knows when not to step in – for instance, when your client is completing a therapy task.
  1. Use existing online resources: There’s no need to start from scratch when online tools are already available. Lingraphica offers free online therapy platforms including TalkPath Therapy and TalkPath News. These programs include therapy that can be appropriate for nearly all the patients on your caseload. Tasks include speech, language, cognition, ADLs, dysphagia, and more!
  1. AAC is still an option: Working with high-tech AAC might feel overwhelming in a teletherapy session. However, through technology, Lingraphica can support you and your patient in using a communication device.

We have experience supporting device trials using a teletherapy delivery model. Our team can remotely log in to devices and help to program, and your clinical consultant will provide customized guidance and tips for conducting sessions through teletherapy.

If you miss sessions, Lingraphica can continue to work directly with your patient. It’s also a great time to focus on reducing social isolation by programming an AAC device for phone calls and Skype sessions to help at-risk patients stay connected with their families and friends.

  1. Research supports teletherapy: Although more studies are needed, existing research shows teletherapy can be an effective mode of therapy delivery.

One study, conducted by Lingraphica in partnership with the Snyder Center for Aphasia Life Enhancement (SCALE), showed that adults with chronic aphasia made improvements in their impairment levels and functional communication following teletherapy.

Furthermore, they increased their communicative confidence and were satisfied with the experience of teletherapy.

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Lingraphica Can Help

If you’d like to learn how Lingraphica can help you deliver effective speech teletherapy, schedule a 15-minute call with a Communication Specialist today.

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