Remote Early Intervention Therapy Experience from the Perspective of both the Child/Family Dyad and the Provider During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Submission ID :
ESPR240
Submission Type
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Abstract: :

Background/Objective:

As was the case for many other healthcare encounters, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Early Intervention (EI) Program of Westchester County was forced to rapidly transition to an exclusively virtual teletherapy experience. The transition occurred on 3/18/20. Teletherapy has been previously utilized to perform virtual developmental treatment, and has been assessed in previous studies, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate a large and diverse population thrust into this format.

The goal of this study is to compare the perceived advantages and disadvantages of teletherapy to in-person therapy from the perspective of both the caregiver child dyad and the service provider. 


Methodology:

Phone surveys to caregivers of children who were receiving therapeutic services via the Westchester County EI Program before 3/18/20, and their linked providers were conducted to assess their perception of satisfaction, and success in implementing therapeutic services via teletherapy. Potential influential conditions were recorded, including patient demographics and therapy type. A series of questions were answered by caregivers and service providers considering their therapy experience in person and again virtually. Responses were provided on a Likert scale 1 (least likely/lowest) through 10 (most likely/highest).  Open-ended questions were used to further describe their experiences.

Data was analyzed using a Wilcoxon signed-rank test for 2 related samples, p<0.05 was statistically significant.


Results:  

Results described are from 39 caregivers and 23 linked providers. In person therapy was performed at home (36.8%), at a therapeutic facility (21.1%), at a daycare (13.2%), or a combination (28.9%). Teletherapy was performed via Zoom (47.4%), FaceTime (21.1%), both (26.3%), or other (5.2%). 97.4% of caregivers reported comfort with the technology involved. 10.5% of caregivers reported that they felt teletherapy could pose privacy threats. 65.8% of caregivers reported having more than one child in the home.  57.9% of caregivers reported that their work responsibilities affected teletherapy. Data collection and analysis is ongoing.


Conclusions:  

Both caregivers and providers found children in EI to be less cooperative with teletherapy, and were less likely to meet patient goals. However, both agreed that caregivers were more engaged in teletherapy sessions, providing an opportunity to further educate caregivers about their child's therapy and progress. Caregivers felt that teletherapy met their family goals to a lesser extent; and providers reported less confidence in their ability to help clients. However, both of these perceptions may have been the result of rapid transition to teletherapy without adequate training. The majority of caregivers felt comfortable using the technology involved, and few felt that teletherapy was a privacy threat.  


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New York Medical College
New York Medical College
Westchester County Department of Health
Westchester County Department of Health
Maria Fareri Children's Hospital

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