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  • Danielle Edwards

Continuation of Care During COVID-19 Pandemic

March 13, 2020

There have been countless news and social media discussions about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), its etiology and precautions. In this service-based field of providing therapy to home and center-based programs, Blue Skies Speech Therapy takes this virus seriously, along with other illnesses including the influenza. Blue Skies Speech Therapy will continue to monitor reliable information from the CDC and other medical resources. We encourage all staff to practice good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases.

As a pediatric therapy provider, Blue Skies Speech Therapy has implemented the following and will continue to:

1. Wash hands with soap and water upon entering the home site BEFORE working with clients.

2. Wash hands intermittently throughout the day (schedule once per half hour).

3. Add handwashing protocols to all clients at the beginning of their clinical day (upon entering the home).

4. If there are clients that have maladaptive behavior of spitting, clinicians should wear a face mask as needed.

5. Complete the Toy Cleaning Protocol with bleach wipes or bleach spray bottle at the end of each day.

6. Clean and wipe workspace at the end of the day, including computer and keyboards.

7. Use hand sanitizer throughout the day including transitions between clients.

8. Clients will be prompted to sanitize hands as they transition between clinicians.

As school and clinic closures continue to be announced, Blue Skies Speech Therapy is offering tele-practice to clients.

What is tele-practice?

Tele-practice is the use of telecommunications technology to deliver speech therapy and audiology services to a client who is in a different physical location than the practitioner.

Use of tele-practice must be equivalent to the quality of services provided in person and consistent with adherence to the Code of Ethics (ASHA, 2016a), Scope of Practice in Audiology (ASHA, 2018), Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology (ASHA, 2016b), state and federal laws (e.g., licensure, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.-c]), and American Speech-Language and Hearing Association policy.

Tele-practice venues include schools, medical centers, rehabilitation hospitals, community health centers, outpatient clinics, universities, clients’ homes, residential health care facilities, child care centers, and corporate settings. There are no inherent limits to where tele-practice can be implemented, as long as the services comply with national, state, institutional, and professional regulations and policies. See ASHA State-by-State for state tele-practice requirements.

How will tele-practice work?

Blue Skies Speech Therapy has created a Service Model Telehealth for non-clinic face to face critical services with a HIPPA compliant online source:

□ Clients seen for speech therapy, counseling will be seen via at a scheduled appointment time.

We will utilize a tele-practice health check list to determine the suitability for clients. Levels of client categorization for tele-practice include:

1. Independent – adult support not needed

2. Semi Support – adult login support and redirection (intermittent)

3. Full Support – adult onsite for login, redirection, and possibility for intervention in teaching and delivery of tangible rewards.

As we unexpectedly work to acclimate in this current climate, please know the health and well-being of our clients is the top priority. We understand the concern about regression and will do our best to assist with social stories, speech and language games and activities as well as parent consultation. We are available and look forward to helping in any way possible.

Warmest Regards,

Danielle Edwards, M.S., CCC-SLP

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