What is a Telehealth Visit Like?

Mom and baby on a video call with physical therapist

Category: Client Story

July 6, 2020

Like community health agencies around the world, we’ve had to transition into all virtual visits. Since we work with parents and young children, as well as many underserved communities, there are additional challenges that come with telehealth. What is it like for a kid and family to receive our services through a phone or computer? How can a physical therapist work with a child through a screen? And how do we have difficult conversations with mom and dad when we can’t be in the same room?

While we all look forward to the day when we can provide services in the home or group settings again, our creative and determined staff have found ways to be adaptable and responsive to families – all from a distance. The parent coaching model inherent in Any Baby Can’s programs helps make this transition possible.

Baby Joshua began Early Childhood Intervention in January. Joshua is a very small baby and “stiff” which means he doesn’t have the mobility he should for his age. As such, he was falling behind on developmental milestones such as reaching, rolling and sitting. His mom Ashley was directed to Any Baby Can by his pediatrician. She found visits with Joshua’s physical therapist and occupational therapist immensely helpful.

When lockdown began, we weren’t quite certain how these hands-on therapies would adapt virtually. But one thing is for certain: Challenges will not stop a powerful team of dedicated therapists and a loving, capable mom.

Before the Visit

Ashley meets weekly with Joshua’s physical therapist and every other week with his occupational therapist. Before each meeting, the therapist sends a Zoom link to the parent that they can access on a phone, tablet or computer. There is a bit of a learning curve to help parents set up the camera (and keep babies from eating it!), but the visits are very educational and animated.

During the Visit

Visits begin with the therapist checking in on what they discussed last time and addressing any concerns the parent has. They come up with all sorts of tricks and methods to adapt their therapies, including baby dolls, pictures, white boards, and our staff are willing to get creative! At the end of the hour-long session, the therapist texts or emails resources and exercises to the parent.

Going from visits in the home to on the screen has been a challenge, but it just shows the adaptability and commitment of the family and our staff!

We hear these success stories all the time: How a teacher held one-on-one calls with each student to finish out their Nurturing Parenting class. How moms are grateful to have someone to ask questions of and feel heard. How nurses are reconnecting with clients who had previously been unavailable to participate in services.

Transitioning to virtual services is not easy for every family, especially those who are in crisis mode or have kids who are facing more significant health challenges. We continue to adapt and be responsive, supporting families with tech resources and training to help ensure services are accessible and families grow stronger through our work together.

It’s only been a few months but baby Joshua can sit now and has better use of his hands. He’s still working on on getting into a sitting position by himself, rolling consistently and crawling. There’s more work to do but Ashley is very pleased with his progress and values the services she’s received from Any Baby Can.

Our Any Baby Can team has always prioritized an inclusive, family-centered approach that meets clients where they are -- physically, emotionally and culturally. We build relationships with our client families and those relationships take nurturing. Just because the hurdles seem high right now doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try – in fact, it’s all the more reason we need to stay connected!

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Early Childhood Intervention

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