5 tips to get the most out of your telehealth appointments

31 Mar, 2020

COVID-19 has created a serious health pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that treatment for your eating disorder is put on hold. It is more important than ever that it continues. Your needs are important!

Face-to-face appointments may still be available in some circumstances – speak to your health professional about your options.

However, access to medical and mental health treatment is changing. Social distancing policies, due to COVID-19, mean that many face-to-face consults are now being done remotely, via telehealth.

"Everything which can be done by telehealth will be done by telehealth," Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt Health said on Sunday.

More tips here

These measures could be in place for months, making telehealth the new norm and we encourage you not to shy away from these services by doctors and mental health professionals.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your telehealth appointments.

1. Don’t wait to get help

These measures aren’t forever but are likely to be in place for months. Social isolation and dislocation from services is a poor predictor for anyone with a mental illness. It is critical we all continue treatment plans and don’t eliminate important supports. We encourage anyone who is struggling with any mental health condition to stay connected and to reach out for help early.

For those who were planning on seeing a psychologist or health professional for the first time, don’t put this off! For further information about how to access treatment for an eating disorder go to: https://insideoutinstitute.org.au/treatment-services

2. Find a quiet, comfortable place

Set yourself up in a part of your home that is private, quiet and comfortable, and where you are unlikely to be disturbed. If you live in a busy household, try to book your appointment at a time when you are least likely to be interrupted. Turn your phone on silent and remove other potential distractions.

3. Check your equipment

Find a spot where your internet connection is strong. If necessary, use a wired internet connection.

Give yourself plenty of time to set up and test out all your equipment before your appointment. Begin to set up at least 10 minutes before, so you have time to trouble shoot any problems.

Have a back-up plan! For example, be ready for your health professional to call you on the phone if the video connection doesn’t work.

4. Be honest and speak up

Treat the appointment like any other face-to-face appointment! Many aspects of in-person therapy can be replicated via telehealth - and research suggests it can be just as effective.

That said, there are some differences - and you and your health professionals may need to make some adjustments so that it works well for you. For example, nonverbal communication can be a little more difficult to read on video and even more so over the phone (audio only) or if there are connection issues.

Make sure to give feedback to your health professionals so that can resolve any barriers for you.

5. Take notes and learn for next time

Take some time to reflect on the appointment after you finish. Take note of what aspects of the appointment worked for you, and what didn’t work. Talk to your psychologist or doctor about how communication can be improved for your next appointment.

It might take some time to adjust to having appointments online. But remember, it is more important now than ever that you continue to get support.

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