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Unlocking the Potential of Telepractice: Insights from Croatian SLPs During COVID-19

Unlocking the Potential of Telepractice: Insights from Croatian SLPs During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the landscape of speech-language pathology (SLP), compelling practitioners to rapidly adopt telepractice as a viable service delivery model. The research article, "Telepractice as a Reaction to the COVID-19 Crisis: Insights from Croatian SLP Settings," provides valuable insights into the efficacy and challenges of telepractice during this period. Here, we delve into key findings from the study and offer practical recommendations for SLPs looking to enhance their telepractice skills.

Key Findings from the Research

The study surveyed 255 Croatian SLPs, revealing that 60% provided direct therapy via telepractice during the pandemic. Interestingly, the system of employment played a significant role in this adoption, with healthcare and private practice SLPs more likely to implement direct teletherapy than those in educational settings.

SLPs cited several reasons for not offering telepractice to certain clients, including:

Furthermore, 61.1% of SLPs reported that not all clients agreed to receive telepractice services. Key reasons for client refusal included lack of technical conditions and the need for additional family engagement.

Practical Recommendations for SLPs

Based on the study's findings, here are some practical recommendations for SLPs to enhance their telepractice skills:

1. Improve Technical Competence

Only 4.2% of SLPs had received formal education in telepractice before the pandemic. Given that 68.5% of the sample deemed additional education necessary, investing in training programs can significantly boost confidence and competence.

2. Focus on Client Selection

Consider the client's age, clinical complexity, and technical readiness when offering telepractice services. Tailoring your approach based on these factors can improve client engagement and therapy outcomes.

3. Address Technical Barriers

Ensure that both you and your clients have access to reliable technology and internet connections. Providing technical support and resources can alleviate some of the barriers to effective telepractice.

4. Enhance Family Engagement

Given the increased need for family involvement, especially for younger clients, offering guidance and support to family members can enhance the overall effectiveness of telepractice.

Encouraging Further Research

While the study provides a robust foundation, there is a need for more research, particularly randomized control trials (RCTs) and studies involving younger populations with diverse impairments. Such research can offer more generalizable and applicable insights for clinical settings.

To read the original research paper, please follow this link: Telepractice as a Reaction to the COVID-19 Crisis: Insights from Croatian SLP Settings.


Citation: Kraljević, J. K., Matić, A., & Dokoza, K. P. (2020). Telepractice as a Reaction to the COVID-19 Crisis: Insights from Croatian SLP Settings. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 12(2), 93-104. https://doi.org/10.5195/ijt.2020.6325

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