Human Services workers’ experiences of rapidly moving to Telehealth Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • AbstractAs a way of restricting the spread of COVID-19, methods of social distancing were instituted in most places that people gather, including workplaces. As such, human service agencies have implemented novel ways of delivering services to clients, with a common method being telehealth. For some practitioners this was unchartered waters and required rapid adaption to their everyday practice. I was interested to hear about their experiences and what useful learning came from it. I spoke, informally, with 13 people across four settings in a regional city in Victoria, asking them about the problems, positive changes and innovations that emerged. There were reports of challenges to overcome as well as benefits that may well become long-lasting. Practitioners adapted quickly and successfully to telehealth, with only minor problems that they managed to iron out quite quickly. They were mindful of people’s differing levels of capacity and access to technology and learned to be gentle and kind to themselves and others as they adapted. Some people came to realise that they like to work from home because it improves their work-life balance. Others, however, are keen to return to the workplace; highlighting the importance for flexibility based on individual circumstances. There was a strong sense of improved communication between agencies as they were better able to connect via telehealth compared with former in-person practices.

publication date

  • December 18, 2020