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Enhancing Telehealth for Language and Learning Disorders: Key Insights from Milan's COVID-19 Response

Enhancing Telehealth for Language and Learning Disorders: Key Insights from Milan\'s COVID-19 Response

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted traditional service delivery models across various sectors, including speech-language pathology. A recent study titled So far so close: an insight into smart working and telehealth reorganization of a Language and Learning Disorders Service in Milan during COVID-19 pandemic provides valuable insights into how telehealth can be effectively utilized to continue providing essential services. This blog will highlight key findings from the research and offer practical advice for practitioners aiming to enhance their telehealth practices.

Reorganization and Adaptation

The study details how the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Besta in Milan quickly adapted to the challenges posed by the pandemic. Key elements of their reorganization included:

Feasibility and Implementation

To redefine therapeutic protocols for teleworking, the professionals used an informative checklist that included:

Based on this checklist, a new plan for rehabilitation was drafted in collaboration with the parents.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The reorganization showed several strengths, including timely adaptation, creativity in method development, and maintaining ethical standards. However, there were also challenges, such as:

Outcomes and Satisfaction

The telehealth reorganization allowed the delivery of 85% of the services provided face-to-face in the previous year, indicating a successful adaptation. Family feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with many parents reporting improvements in their children's communication and learning skills.

To better understand the satisfaction levels among service providers, caregivers, and children, the study suggests developing a telehealth satisfaction survey.

Future Directions

The study emphasizes the need for further research to validate tele-assessment protocols and compare them with in-person assessments. This is crucial for telehealth to become an accepted alternative mode of service delivery. Policymakers, researchers, and practitioners must collaborate to develop guidelines that ensure high-quality telehealth services.

Conclusion

Telehealth has proven to be a valuable tool for providing speech-language and learning pathology services, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we move towards a post-pandemic world, it's essential to continue evaluating the effectiveness of telehealth and explore ways to integrate it into standard practice.

To read the original research paper, please follow this link: So far so close: an insight into smart working and telehealth reorganization of a Language and Learning Disorders Service in Milan during COVID-19 pandemic.


Citation: Sarti, D., De Salvatore, M., Gazzola, S., Pantaleoni, C., & Granocchio, E. (2020). So far so close: an insight into smart working and telehealth reorganization of a Language and Learning Disorders Service in Milan during COVID-19 pandemic. Neurological Sciences, 41(7), 1659-1662. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-020-04481-8

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