Telehealth FAQs

Joy Center Telehealth Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

What is “telehealth”?

Joy Center Telehealth offers online occupational, speech, and psychology therapy services delivered via the internet as a temporary replacement or complement (when necessary) to in-person sessions. Most importantly, telehealth is not an intervention; it is a connection and at Joy Center, it brings clinicians and clients together when circumstances out of our control keep us apart. Live video sessions are provided through a personal computer, iPad, or smartphone via HIPAA-compliant platforms. Joy Center clinicians and designated family members are together in real-time.

 

Why should I consider telehealth for my child?

Benefits of occupational teletherapy include:

Providing telehealth to military families and civilians throughout Italy allows providers like Joy Center to increase access to therapy to families who may not otherwise be able to seek the help their children need. Finding specialized treatment or therapy can be challenging for those living in rural areas or serving at remote US military bases in Italy. The introduction of telehealth connects clinicians with citizens throughout Italy in impactful ways.

 • Convenience and continuity of care regardless of outside influences; distance, weather, illness, schedules, travel, or infectious exposure.

• Stay in the safety of your own home (stay in your jammies if you want) – teletherapy brings meaningful treatment to the comfort of your own home.

 

What do you need to use Telehealth?

Telehealth uses Zoom and/or Cisco Webex platforms. We will email you a link prior to your sessions. You will also be provided an alternative way to contact us should technology issues arise during the virtual therapy session.

You will need:

• an internet connection 

• a quiet space

• a table or chair in order to stay within camera view

 

Does teletherapy have the same impact as traditional therapy?

Children interact with technology regularly and respond exceedingly well to teletherapy. The screens become a conduit between the clinician and child/family as they facilitate therapeutic play with toys* and games that are available within the home. This approach increases practicing of skills outside of the therapy session. Using their own toys and household items minimizes items that parents are required to supply. Telemedicine offers a clinically advantageous means of engaging clients and caregivers in the therapeutic process within their own environment.

* The purchase of new toys is not required. Prior to each appointment, parents receive a therapy plan so that they know what to expect during each session.

 

Are the parents present for each session?

The principles of coaching and family empowerment are encouraged through telemedicine therapy. Parents and/or caregivers a key component of therapy, especially when it comes to toddlers. Parents and therapists collaborate on an individualized telehealth strategy based on your child’s profile.

During the sessions, parent log in to the session and then can sit with their child (if recommended) while the therapist works through the session. If there are materials that are needed for the session, they are either shared on-screen or sent via email before the session.

 

Does my insurance cover it? 

Tricare and all civilian insurance carriers approve Telehealth. Joy Center is the leading Pediatric Therapy provider in Italy for all military bases and an in-network provider for TRICARE, BCBS, AETNA, GEHA, and CIGNA. 

Talk with your OT provider and your insurance company to determine if telehealth can be billed to your insurance. 

 

Is my child too young for teletherapy?

Speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and psychology services for toddlers and young children are focused on providing parent education and modeling. Teletherapy for toddlers is very similar. Joy Center therapists guide the child and family through therapeutic activities.

 

How often is teletherapy recommended?

Treatment frequency is determined based on the family and client needs, in addition to your child’s age. Generally, children 4 years old and younger benefit from shorter but more frequent therapy sessions. In contrast, older children can benefit from longer sessions. Your therapist collaborates with you to determine a plan works best for your child.

 

Can new patients begin with Telehealth?

Typically, we recommend an initial visit or two in-clinic to establish a relationship and to establish that teletherapy is a good option for a particular child. After that initial visit, a schedule can be set up just like we would a traditional in-clinic visit. During COVID-19, we are completing online evaluations with families to start treatment during a time when emotional and developmental support is more important than ever.

 

What if Telehealth does not work for my child?

Telehealth works for many parents and children but we recognize it may not be a good fit for every family. Joy Center clinicians discuss ongoing progress with families in Italy to ensure success and make adjustments to treatment plans as needed. Please discuss any concerns or changes with your clinician. We are committed to providing the best treatment options for your child.

Teletherapy is endorsed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).