Expanding support to rural, regional and remote children through teleHealth
In my previous correspondence, I outlined how we had been able to use our growing teleHealth capability to continue providing individual support to kids and families through the COVID-19 lockdown period and I have some exciting news about this service to share with you.
We started exploring the potential of providing services through teleHealth back in 2016 when we entered into a partnership with the University of Queensland’s Centre for Research Excellence in TeleHealth. Together we undertook an investigation into the feasibility of using technology such as video conferencing to provide allied health and support services to regional and remote families. Our investment in this project really showed its worth when we were unable to conduct face-to-face therapy sessions because of the coronavirus crisis; in fact, it has been so successful that we have now decided to convert one of the existing buildings at Toowong into a dedicated teleHealth centre.
TeleHealth doesn’t replace the need for our therapists in regional locations but complements and extends their work. The development of our new teleHealth centre will greatly increase our ability to provide allied health support, children and parent services and Early Childhood Early Intervention services to families living in rural, regional and remote parts of Queensland.
Most importantly, teleHealth allows us to provide a full range of support not readily available through all our service centres, a case in point being social work services. Because we are unable to employ social workers in all our regional centres, our Sunshine Coast based social worker has been using teleHealth to work with families in Central Queensland, Mount Isa and Bundaberg. Most recently, she has been working with two young siblings, Karly and Luc, who were very anxious following their parents’ relationship breakdown and had started displaying troubling behavior. Luc was so disturbed he would remain curled up in the corner refusing to speak during therapy sessions. Using teleHealth our social worker was able to work with the family and gradually Luc began to talk and engage in the sessions. After a recent session, the children asked their mum if they could talk to our social worker privately over the teleHealth link and they openly shared their fears, worries and anxieties with her. It was a real breakthrough, and although many hundreds of kilometres away, teleHealth enabled us to engage and support these vulnerable young children.
With a dedicated teleHealth centre, we will be able to help more kids like Karly and Luc and we hope you can help us make our exciting plans a reality. Any gift of $2 or more, which you can give, is tax deductable and will help us to start building the new Toowong teleHealth centre. To make donation easier, you can give online through our website. Just go to bushkids.org.au and click on the blue ‘Donate’ button.
Thank you in advance for your support, particularly during what continues to be a very difficult time for us all.
Chief Executive Officer
 While this is a real case, personal information about the children and family have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.