A word from Kara Foscholo (Director of Active Ability)
As a front-line community health provider, COVID-19 is impacting Active Ability’s usual service provision methods. In order to ensure continuity of care and best practice for clients who are in isolation, we are implementing TeleHealth options for these clients. We would encourage you to consider continuing services with Active Ability through the use of TeleHealth in the coming months so that together, we can improve your or your client’s physical and mental health and support them to continue working towards their NDIS goals if they are practicing self-isolation.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF NOT CONTINUING THERAPY SUPPORT WHILST IN ISOLATION?
Social isolation has been linked to mental illness, emotional distress, the development of dementia, poor health behaviours, physical inactivity, poor sleep, and biological effects, including high blood pressure and poorer immune function (AIHW, 2019). It has “adverse health consequences including depression, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, accelerated cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function and impaired immunity at every stage of life. In addition, loneliness has been found to raise levels of stress, impede sleep and, in turn, harm the body. Loneliness can also augment depression and anxiety.” (American Psychological Journal, 2019).
Further to this, removing exercise physiology, dietetic and physiotherapy services from our client’s routine may impact the improvements and progressions they have made toward their NDIS goals. Specifically, stopping their physical therapies may decrease their strength, balance, coordination, aerobic capacity and/or mobility, impacting their falls risk, function and ability to complete activities of daily living. Similarly, and depending on the reason for referral, pausing dietetic support may result in malnutrition, decreases in strength or function, reduced client self-efficacy and independence regarding meal preparation, reduced health and wellbeing (whether that be through poor diabetes management or weight control), unsafe feeding practices particularly around texture-modification and food safety, poor symptom management (e.g. uncontrolled appetite, constipation, nausea), nutritional deficiencies, and hence reductions in overall quality of life and independence.
WHAT IS TELEHEALTH?
TeleHealth is the use of telecommunication techniques such as video conferencing for the purpose of delivering health services and to transmit health information. It encompasses diagnosis, treatment, prevention and education services and typically involves the client, their support people such as a support worker or family member and therapists in the provision of these services. (The Department of Health, 2015).
- American Psychological Association, 2019. Social Isolation: It could kill you. Psychologists are studying how to combat loneliness in those most at risk, such as older adults, https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/05/ce-corner-isolation
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019. Social Isolation and loneliness, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/social-isolation-and-loneliness
- The Department of health, 2015. Telehealth, https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/e-health-telehealth
- University of Oxford, 2020. Video consultations: a guide for practice. https://bjgp.org/sites/default/files/advanced-pages/20Mar_COVID_VideoConsultations.pdf