Reflections on using telehealth in home modification practice with clients with newly acquired spinal cord injury in Queensland – the advantages and the challenges

Jamie Matveyeff, home modification service coordinator 1, Kati Graham, occupational therapist2

1 LifeTec Australia, PO Box 3241, Newmarket, Queensland 4051, jamiematveyeff@lifetec.org.au

2 LifeTec Australia, PO Box 3241, Newmarket, Queensland 4051, katigraham@lifetec.org.au

 

The Spinal Cord Injuries Response (SCIR) program assists people with a newly acquired spinal injury to transition from the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane back to their community by providing a range of services and supports such as care, equipment and home modifications.  Over the past 3 years, LifeTec has been coordinating the delivery and review of any home modification requirements for clients who are discharged to their own homes in any location in Queensland.

As this is a state-wide program, it has been essential for LifeTec to utilise mainstream web-based and portable video call technologies in our home modifications practice, to ensure that an equitable, timely and cost effective service is provided to all clients regardless of their discharge location. These technologies are used by the program coordinator, the building contractor, the occupational therapists and the client and their family.  Using real-time videoconferencing programs enables the client to more actively engage in the home modification process and often, it is the first opportunity for them to see their home, some of their family members and their pets following their injury. It enables the client to be central to any home modification decisions required. We see it as essential that our clients are involved in this process as early as possible to facilitate a client-centred framework of practice and assist them to prepare for life when they return home.

People attending this presentation will learn about our current telehealth practices and the tools we use for this program, how we have successfully implemented a telehealth service that links government, non-government and private parties, how we have overcome some of the challenges of delivering a clinical service remotely, the positive outcomes and some of the lessons learnt.