The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing catalysed the uptake of Telehealth for young people and clinicians.
Nurse Navigator Geraldine Dyer works with adolescents and young adults who suffer from chronic illnesses and fall through the gaps.
Geraldine has found offering sessions virtually via Telehealth has helped with health care accessibility challenges faced by young people, such as access to transport to attend a face-to-face consultation.
“Young people are not only familiar with technology, but they also face barriers to attending appointments, such as lost time from education or employment to attend an appointment, that can be overcome with Telehealth,” she said.
“It can be fit into their day and be used opportunistically. I’m able to send my patient a text message to ask if there’s a good time for a catch up over Telehealth, and they give me a time that is sometimes instant.
“Due to young people being so familiar with social media, I’ve found that once they have used Telehealth, they are keen to continue to engage in this way when appropriate. A young person may call in from their bedroom or wherever they feel comfortable and safe.”
One patient, a 19 year old female who was experiencing multiple health complications due to poor diabetes control, including mental health, vision and renal issues, has engaged consistently with Geraldine over Telehealth. The Telehealth platform enabled Geraldine to provide consistent and frequent support which empowered the patient to find the motivation and strength to commit to change.
The patient achieved much better diabetes control, improved mental health significantly and is motivated to continue to be healthy and well.