What is Telehealth?
Telehealth means providing services to clients using a computer or phone when the provider and client are not in the same room. Computer programs let social workers, therapists, case managers, etc., meet with clients through video so you can see and hear each other.
What can I do using Telehealth?
- Meet with your therapist
- Meet with your case manager
- Have a doctor's appointment
- Participate in groups
What equipment do I need?
- Fully charged computer, tablet, or cell phone with audio and video capability
- Prevent distractions around you
- Helps maintain privacy
- High speed internet
- During your session, you will want to close all other programs and browsing windows on your computer/tablet.
- Disconnect any other computers/tablets/cell phones in your home from WIFI to create the strongest internet connection for your session.
- Phone as backup
- Cell phones are not the first choice for telehealth appointments because they have a smaller screen or may get incoming phone calls causing more interruptions.
- A cell phone is good as a back-up plan in case you are disconnected from your provider during your appointment.
- If you do not have a laptop or a tablet, a smart phone with internet will work fine.
How should I prepare for my appointment?
- Find a private space
- Do you live with family or roommates? Tell them before your appointment that you would like privacy.
- Use earphones to block out distractions and find a room where you feel comfortable.
- If privacy is hard to find in your home, get creative! Think about outdoor spaces if the weather permits or even the bathroom can give you privacy.
- Public spaces are not appropriate for participating in an individual or group telehealth session because they may cause a violation of privacy.
- If you are joining a group:
- Use earphones to protect your privacy as well as your fellow group member's privacy.
- Recording group sessions or taking screen shots during group is not allowed and is a violation of privacy.
- It is especially important that family members or roommates respect your privacy during a group session. You are protecting your own confidentiality as well as your fellow group members.
- Quiet space
- Try to block out as much background noise as possible.
- Closing windows and doors can help block out noise from neighbors or roommates, traffic, or pets.
- Good lighting
- Your provider wants to be able to see you! Natural light from a window is great, but don’t sit with the window behind you.
- Bringing lamps near you is another great option.
- Practice with your camera
- Before your session is a great time to get some practice.
- You can set up a call with a friend or ask your provider to do a short test call so that you can practice logging on, using your camera, and getting comfortable in a telehealth meeting.
Setting Up for Your Appointment Time
- Get comfortable
- Think about what helps you relax
- Sit in a comfortable chair, couch, or use pillows for support
- Consider lighting a candle
- Have some water or tea to drink
- Take a deep breath and quiet your mind
- Remember that you are taking time for yourself and your well-being
- New experiences can be uncomfortable and cause anxiety at first, but your provider will be there to help you along the way.
- Click the link your provider sent you
- When it is time for your appointment to start, click on the link that your provider sent and wait for them to join the appointment.
During your appointment
- You might feel like you have to speak extra loud, lean in toward the screen, or always have eye contact with the computer during video calls. These things can be exhausting!
- Try to imagine that you are sitting in a room with your provider. Feel free to look around, let your body move, allow natural pauses in conversation.
- What if the session gets disconnected?
- Don’t panic! If you get disconnected, you and your provider will have already come up with a back-up plan. You can either try to reconnect on the website or follow your back-up plan.
- Tell your provider about your telehealth experience
- Your provider wants you to feel comfortable and confident with your telehealth experience.
- If you are having any challenges, tell your provider.
- Your provider can help you if you need to work through technology issues, have trouble finding a private space, have difficulty focusing while on a video call, or with any other challenges you might experience.