A Case Study in Telehealth Support for Clinicians
Although the pandemic has separated us in physical proximity, it’s brought us closer together in our mission and vision of continuing to work together while looking at things in new ways. The pandemic pressed us to be even more creative, even more adaptable, and evermore present with our kids and our colleagues as we confronted new and intense challenges.
Our partners at Doc Wayne Youth Services were in search of a way to connect and support their clinicians in the wild new world of virtual support and distance learning with some guide rails. In addition, the challenge was magnified by the ongoing issues with internet access, pandemic-heightened awareness around health and safety, and the need to learn on the fly within a telehealth environment.
To support Doc Wayne clinicians in providing telehealth services of the highest quality, we proposed the development of a research-based, best practices guide, and a Doc Wayne Play-Based Telehealth Manual with a variety of different activity-based session guides to support their clinicians in maximizing the intentionality and effectiveness of their telehealth sessions with young clients. Our work culminated in an online training for clinicians that outlined the framework through practical engagement with a number of the activity-based session guides.
“The reason our relationship with Play At The Core is so strong is because they see the work the way we do. The Play At The Core team has a therapeutic background and they bring this lens to programming. In this partnership where we asked Play At The Core to adapt our in-person programming and help make it work virtually, they were able to understand the style and we were going for… From the jump, Play At The Core wanted to understand our goals, and thought of all of the questions that needed to get answered so that they could take the project and run with it… We trusted that when Play At The Core adapted a game, it would have a therapeutic lens and our team could quickly see that and utilize it in their work with our youth.”
- Play-Based Telehealth Best Practices Guide: Leveraging existing resources and emerging best practices in telehealth services for youth, the Play At The Core team outlined the key elements of intentionally designed and implemented play-based telehealth sessions. This guide and the accompanying framework should serve as an introductory document and supplemental resource for the Adapted Play-Based Telehealth Activity Manual.
- Adapted Play-Based Telehealth Activity Manual: Containing a collection of intentionally designed activity outlines, this manual will be an essential planning tool for Doc Wayne clinicians. Each activity will demonstrate alignment with a specific treatment outcome and provide example questions to help frame conversations with participating youth.
- Online Training Session for Doc Wayne Clinicians: As a culminating activity, the Play At The Core team lead Doc Wayne clinicians in a participatory online workshop. The goal of the 90-minute training was to introduce the team to the new resource and provide practical opportunities to engage with the resources and model implementation of activities.
“This work had a very concrete clinician-focused impact, where our clinical team have a new resource and they also were supported and felt more support through the transition to telehealth programming. I think the bigger impacts are organizational: developing a critical lens about our work, updating our programming to represent our mission and values, and we think this will positively impact our kids.”
“So much of the way Play At The Core creates programming and works with other youth-serving professionals has a philosophy where: if you, as the adult in the room, experience these skills and approaches, you’re going to be able to do better for the kids in your program. And this project totally aligned with that. We weren’t asking you to come in and run the program, but we asked you to develop this resource and support our clinical team. This helped our clinicians feel more equipped to run telehealth programming, and in the process THEY felt better, and that means even greater impact for our kids.”
“Working with Play At The Core is a continuously creative endeavor… We talked about these big problems, and we had all of these questions and needs, and Play At The Core was going to help us find the answers.”Quotes excerpted from an interview with Alex Craig, Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, at Doc Wayne Youth Services