From March 30, 2020 the Australian government has announced that ALL Australians can now access psychological services through telehealth amid the COVID-19 crisis. While this is great news you will no doubt have many questions about what this might mean for you.
So, what is it?
Telehealth is the provision of healthcare remotely via telephone, video conferencing (Skype, Zoom etc) and/or social media. In the current COVID-19 environment telehealth is becoming crucial for individuals to access medical services in a safe and responsible way. GP’s and other allied health professionals are using these tools to be able to connect with their patients and provide much needed services.
Telehealth has many benefits for you including providing a service when you can’t physically attend the clinic as well as limiting person-to-person interactions in waiting rooms and with front desk staff. As a new mum or dad, telehealth can have even more benefits including flexible and convenient appointment times, ability to get support without having to leave home and possibly reducing the need to access childcare.
How will it work?
Here at Mums Matter Psychology we are already set up for telehealth for our clients with access to Zoom for your appointments. This service is also supported by paperless administration and access to psychological materials online.
If you are an existing client of Mum’s Matter Psychology, you will continue with your existing clinician just through the Zoom app. You will still get reminders; your psychologist will continue to work towards your goals and the bulk billing will be processed by the clinician (no out of pocket fees).
You will receive a text message an hour before your appointment with a link to the Zoom room. You will then need to click on this link to join the meeting. You will simply need to download the app (on phone or computer) and don’t need a Zoom account (see link here https://zoom.us/ ).
At the time of your appointment you will need:
A working internet connection
To make sure that Zoom is working (we suggest that you check Zoom is working before your appointment. For example, you should test that the connection works, and that audio and video are enabled)
A quiet space with privacy (if possible- some clients go to their cars if they are unable to find a quiet space in their home!)
Zoom works just like Facetime which means you and the clinician will be able to see each other (but don’t worry about what you look like!). Your psychologist can also share their screen with you for handouts or diagrams and may continue to suggest homework tasks between sessions. So, the sessions should be quite like a face-to-face session however be sure to feedback any technical issues to your clinician though if they arise.
I am a new client; how will it work?
If you are a new client, you will still require a Mental Health Care Plan for your GP which you will then upload into our booking and billing system. At your first session the psychologist will explain how the sessions will work and will try to understand what your needs are from therapy. Subsequent sessions will be booked directly with the psychologist at the end of your session.
Telehealth enables clients to continue to seek help even during this time of social distancing and uncertainty. This is vital for families as we know that even while the world is in the grip of the pandemic, day-to-day issues with parenting, transitioning to becoming a mum, pregnancy and birth trauma can still be impactful for many people. So, regardless of the issues that you are currently facing, telehealth can ensure that you are still able to get the support you need.