Caring for Children, Youth, and Families via Telehealth During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Children and their families are experiencing unprecedented changes including family members who are sick, out of work, or on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. Prior to COVID-19, telehealth has been transforming the way health care is delivered in the U.S. A shortage of professional workforce, particularly in rural areas, results in a lack of access to needed services or requires significant travel to get to available services. For families without reliable transportation or public transportation, the result is the same—needed services cannot be obtained. Telehealth can address these barriers. The use of telehealth in mental health has expanded into schools and other non-traditional settings and now into homes. In this time of COVID-19, telehealth has become essential for an array of medical, mental health, and child welfare services. Although the use of telehealth has been demonstrated to be an effective strategy in the provision of care, the decision to provide telehealth and the way it is provided requires careful consideration of a number of factors, including: technology, setting, backup mode of communication, clinical considerations and developmental considerations. This brief addresses the benefits of telehealth and necessary considerations.