If you are meeting parents in face-to-face sessions at the clinic, at home, or via live video chat, you have an opportunity to build an engaging home programming between sessions with a solid hybrid therapy strategy and the right tools.
Many parents today are Generation Y Millennials. These digital natives are comfortable with learning via Youtube, social posts, chatting questions (instead of calling), texting, and using gamified tools for habit building with their children.
In this simple guide, we’ve outlined the seven painless steps you can take to maximize time with parents -- whether in session or not.
Step 1: Set expectations and build home programming materials within the therapy session.
Whether in-person or on video, set expectations with parents about their homework or challenge between sessions; highlight why these activities are important and the frequency of implementation. Practice the home activities at the end of the session to ensure the parent does not have any questions and can overcome fears or anxiety of implementing at home.
Pro Tips from the Field Build Content in the Session: While face-to-face in the session, use your mobile phone/iPad and HIPAA-compliant daily note software like TheraWe to record personal videos under 1 minute of the parent or provider implementing the home programming strategy. If on live video, use the record function to screengrab clips to send after the session.
Step 2: Send home programming content to all parents.
After the session, send a recap of the progress and activities. Focus mostly on the home programming expectations and examples created in the session. The key to maximum impact is to send this message to all parents/caregivers at the same time to ensure the entire “care tribe” is ready for the goal between sessions.
Pro Tips from the Field Help Parents Build a Care Tribe: If multiple contacts are not collected at patient intake -- before ending the session and sending materials -- then:
(1) Gather emails of spouses, grandparents, sitters, etc. (anyone involved in the care of the child).
(2) Coach the primary caregiver that home treatment will be more successful if it is a tribe mentality and not a sole burden for her to carry.
Step 3: Allow parents to send videos and messages between sessions.
Between sessions, encourage all care tribe members to send videos of themselves implementing home strategies for feedback; send short video clips of hard-to-capture behaviors to discuss in the next session (e.g. the meltdown at breakfast), and questions caregivers have when they need more encouragement (due to lack of confidence/fear) or support.
Pro Tips from the Field Bill Insurance for Extended Intervention: Depending on your organization’s insurance agreements and therapy types, the support you provide can be billable under asynchronous and synchronous telehealth insurance codes. Contact your billing specialist to learn more.
Tool Up for Success: Select a parent engagement platform that tracks all interactions via reporting for insurance audit and also limits the length of videos that parents can send to avoid getting hours of video (e.g. TheraWe limits parent videos to under 4 minutes).
Step 4: Support parents with additional resources.
Depending on the question from the parent, send additional stock videos or PDF materials that will help them accomplish their goals.
Step 5: Use positive reinforcement to build momentum.
Positive reinforcement for effort, engagement, and successful implementation provides fuel to parents’ fire. Find opportunities to check-in with parents to give kudos at least once between sessions. Please note: This encouragement is powerful for the caregivers who are not present for in-person sessions but are still part of the child’s progress. With every engagement point, you are building a relationship with a caregiver who you may never meet in person (e.g. spouse, sibling, etc.).
Pro Tips from the Field Tool Your Notifications: Using your parent engagement platform, configure your notifications to see when parents are watching videos, doing their daily challenges, or on a streak of several days of successful home implementation.
Step 6: Use the live video for check-Ins and reschedules.
In the event that a parent needs extra coaching or support, or is delayed in scheduling for their session, utilize a HIPAA-compliant live video platform to walk them through their questions and provide additional home programming exercises until their next in-person session.
Step 7: Repeat each session and build routines and habits.
The pediatric therapy journey for each child may be long. Continuously building habits with parents will keep them strong during hard days, and ready to celebrate during both big and small wins.