Given the recent changes with COVID-19, we recognize that more families and medically fragile children than ever before are in need of Telehealth services. Through a social profit 501c3 organization, Integrative Touch for Kids (ITK), we have taken measures to provide virtual resources to families with children with complex health and medical needs and their healthcare providers. ITK is delivering content in new and innovative ways to respond to the current health crisis.
Many hospitals during this time are limiting the number of visitors to the hospital, which leaves young patients feeling isolated and alone. Social connection and interaction are an integral part of healing for children and their families. Given this, ITK created two telehealth programs that are available for patients and family members in hospitals and those staying at home throughout the country.
Having a child in the hospital can have psychological and physical impacts on the entire family unit. For the patient, there may be pain, anxiety or other somatic complaints. For the family, this stress can come from the uncertainty about the child’s condition, but also because of alterations in parental roles, communication difficulties with healthcare staff, alterations in the child’s appearance, and economic/logistical implications of having family members in different places. Physically, this can manifest as poor sleep, fatigue, and headaches. Anxiety and depression related to the hospitalization can also persist, months after the hospitalization. Some families avail themselves of resources in the community (yoga studios, massage therapists, etc) to help them cope with the situation at hand.
The ITK Telehealth Program allows families access to wellness education and therapeutic interventions via Telehealth. For this presentation, we aim to share our experiences, from the origin of the concept of providing Telehealth services, thru to our outcomes thus far. Topics to be shared include working with families, training providers, developing technological solutions, and details about the integrative modalities used with pediatric patients and their families.
- Identify the core components of developing a Telehealth program.
- Describe the training and orientation components for Telehealth work.
- Review this first of its kind Telehealth therapeutic model and program design.