Telehealth parent counselling trial and research project

Nicole Owen BSW MSW1, Stephanie Golden Roser BSW2,


1 Child & Youth Community Health, Children’s Health Qld, Qld Health, C/O PO Box 1060 Noosa Heads 4567.

2 Child & Youth Community Health, Children’s Health Qld, Qld Health, Locked Bag 1 Caboolture 4510.


This trial supported 12 Early Intervention Parenting Clinicians (EIPC/EIC) (social workers and psychologists) located at 9 child health services to set up video conference capability and deliver video conferencing (VC) counselling sessions to caregivers in rural and remote communities or those who cannot access a centre. It evaluated the set up and deployment, functionality and sustainability of VC counselling in the trial sites, including the clinician and client experience and satisfaction of VC delivery of parent counselling. The research component of the project is ongoing and will formally evaluate the parent’s and clinician’s experience of using VC and clinical outcomes.

The trial encouraged partnerships in the trial sites between the clinicians, the Telehealth Support Unit (who sponsored the trial) and local telehealth coordinators.   We run monthly VC training sessions with clinicians and telehealth colleagues and this was successful in enhancing VC skill level, confidence and clinician engagement. In the trial phase, 42 clients were told about the trial and 4 families utilised the VC sessions through local health centres or hospitals and all were satisfied with this mode of service delivery. There were minimal technical difficulties and additional clients are now engaged in ongoing VC service delivery in these sites.  The trial highlighted technical barriers such as lack of  internet access to rural/remote communities which affected the delivery of VC parent counselling services.  Data was collected on reasons why parents did and did not want counselling delivered through telehealth.  Main reasons for wanting VC parent counselling is that no service available in their area or large travel distance to access face-to-face service.  The research component has commenced VC into clients’ homes using the new Qld Health Telehealth Portal link generator.  One client’s feedback:

“Love being able to do this in my own home.  More flexible” (Working mum of young children).

This presentation will outline the findings of the trial and the initial data from the research project.  There will be a discussion of the implications for the future of telehealth in child health and similar services, and strategies for ongoing promotion and development of telehealth, and clinician and client engagement.

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