What is your role at Royal Far West (RFW)?
Hi, my name is Linsey and I am a Senior Telecare Coordinator here at RFW. In the simplest way, Telecare provides therapy services for children, schools and families who live in rural and remote Australia via video link, providing them opportunities which they otherwise would not be able to access.
Our Telecare Coordination team is responsible for helping schools and parents refer their students and children to the Telecare Program, whether this be Speech, Occupational Therapy or Psychology services.
Once the children have been referred to us, we act as the link between the schools we work with in rural and remote communities and our clinicians here in Manly. Anything you can think of throughout the Telecare process, you name it, we’ve helped in it – including advocating for Telecare, engaging communities, creating school schedules, technology testing, providing support and problem solving. Currently we’re supporting 500 children across 130 schools per school term with our Telecare service. No community is beyond our reach – we’re now delivering into the most remote locations, including Yiyili in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and Lord Howe Island!
Alongside working with schools, I am the Coordinator for our Tele Psychiatry and Tele Paediatrics programs which work hand in hand with our Paediatric Developmental Program, where families come down to Manly and stay with us to access a range of specialist services. This means I coordinate meetings via Telecare with our Specialists and the families once they return home, enabling our Paediatricians and Psychologists to follow up on prescribed medications and how home life is treating them after their visit to Manly, all in the comfort of the family home, without having to travel hundreds of kilometres to and from appointments.
Describe your typical day?
A typical day in Telecare Land is never typical and I think that’s the best part about this position. One way we like to describe it is ‘Tetris’, or a crazy puzzle, in the form of appointments. We run approximately 80 sessions a day with some days reaching over 100. We support our clinicians through these appointments, being the on-site tech gurus and working with the schools to solve any problems they may be having. Alongside all this, we are also managing our clients through programs funded by local Primary Health Networks, other schools, private families through NDIS, organising Capacity Building, training new clinicians in Telecare, closely working with School Dioceses, entering new and updated data and sending term reports.
What’s the best thing about working with families from rural and remote Australia?
The best thing is knowing that we are truly making a difference in their lives. It’s unfortunate to see the gap in health care in these areas, especially allied health, but this is where Telecare steps in, and the appreciation for the program from schools and families is overwhelming – which gives you the warm fuzzies.
What do you think makes RFW unique?
There are many things that come to mind that make RFW unique, but one of the main things is the fact we have such a large multidisciplinary team alongside large teams in support roles who make sure everything works in the background to ensure clinicians can go in and deliver the sessions without having to worry about anything other than the service they are providing.
Tell us about a family with great outcomes through working with RFW
Over the past two years, there have been so many positive outcomes in families and schools that its hard to pick just one. Because we are the main contacts for the schools using Telecare, they pass their feedback directly onto us. Comments like: The child is so much more confident in the playground, she has made new friends and seems much happier to be at school, or the child now knows when he is struggling to concentrate and implements the strategies he worked on with the clinician throughout his Telecare therapy to regulate himself and begin concentrating again in class. Staff have also told us that being able to be involved as a Therapy Aide in Telecare sessions has allowed them to use the skills they have learnt during these sessions and implement them in other situations of school life.