Hi there. My name is Cara, and I feel lucky to work as a Senior Telecare Coordinator in the Telecare team at Royal Far West. The Telecare team works to support children across remote NSW, Queensland and WA to access allied health services, specifically Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy and Psychology services via video-link.
Our team of eight supports more than 850 children between the ages of 3-14 throughout rural Australia. We work alongside more than 30 Speech Pathologists, over 25 Occupational Therapists and over 15 Psychologists to provide care to our clients. For these sessions to go ahead, it requires us as Telecare coordinators to get in touch with our schools and in some cases with parents to organise a time that suits both clinician and client. These small towns have extensive waiting lists for allied health services, so it is lovely to know that the work we do in these communities make a difference to the lives of our clients and their families.
I personally work across 18 schools, coordinating Telecare sessions for more than 130 children living in towns such as Cobar, Bourke, Narromine, Griffith, and Narrandera. With all of this in mind, it can sound like a mammoth task. However, when things get hard, our team has a motto which is simply ‘We do it for the kids’, which always helps us to push through.
Have you seen any changes since you’ve been with us?
I’ve been at Royal Far West for more than 18 months. During this time, we’ve seen many changes, especially due to the COVID-19 journey we’ve all been on. In saying this, when speaking with our schools’ staff members, they have all commented on how the children have developed a sense of resilience. They also say that having the children’s weekly speech, OT or counselling sessions continue in their homes is such a positive impact, as it can provide a sense of routine during these often uncertain times.
What led you to work at RFW?
I just love everything that RFW stands for. While I was at university, I developed a keen interest in rural healthcare, and wanted to try to make a difference. Working for an amazing institution like RFW allows us to provide important services for kids in Australian rural communities. I sincerely believe that the work we do as an organisation is extremely important and is something we all take pride in every day.
Describe your typical day
A typical day starts by taking our beagle Teddy for a nice long walk, which will hopefully tire him out for my workday. From there on, my day can take many twists and turns! I can switch quickly between rescheduling appointment for my Telecare schools to chatting to our schools about any questions or concerns they may have, to sorting our sessions for children on our Connect for Kids/MyStep Telecare programs. There definitely aren’t two similar days in our lovely Telecare team, and that variety is something I really love about my job.
What’s the best thing about working with families from rural and remote Australia?
As someone who has lived in the city my whole life, having the opportunity to work with families from rural and remote Australia is such a rewarding experience. I have learnt so much about the diversity of our schools and some of the issues that children encounter in these towns. I absolutely love getting to know our schools and our families and finding out all the things that make their towns special. I also thoroughly enjoy being able to work alongside some of the most dedicated teachers I have ever met, who go above and beyond their call of duty to make sure their kids get the support they need. It truly inspires you to want to do more to support these communities.
What do you think makes RFW unique?
I honestly believe that the people we work with makes RFW stand out. In our Telecare team, we are extremely lucky to work alongside clinicians who are willing to do whatever they can to best support our clients. In doing so, we achieve the best possible results for our Telecare kids and their families, and there is no better feeling!
Tell us about a family’s positive outcomes through working with RFW
One of our Telecare kids was recommended for an assessment, however the recommendation was met with some anxiety from the child’s family. The clinician and I worked with the school to be flexible with finding days and times which would suit both the parent and school. This gave the school enough time to gently encourage the family to engage with RFW. By taking this approach, the child was able to partake in the assessment, and as a result, the family became extremely engaged, and have now opted to have another session with the clinician to learn more about the strategies they could use at home with their child.
It’s stories like this that makes all our work so extremely worthwhile.