In the face of COVID-19, social distancing and a societal response to preventing illness, we are pleased to see so many members considering other options for serving clients.

A number of members have contacted the office looking for information about the viability of using telepractice (telehealth, videoconferencing, telephone) with clients.

ACSLPA is not able to endorse or recommend one platform over another. Not all platforms are created equally. Regulated members will need to determine if a particular platform meets their needs.

  • When choosing a platform, you might want to think about cost, features available (including privacy options), the client’s home technology and the IT supports available to you. You should have good rationale for your choice.
  • You can anticipate needing to be able to troubleshoot online, during sessions.
  • What services can you reasonably offer? While home/parent consultation may lend itself nicely to telepractice, other services might need modifications.

Regardless of the platform you choose to use, be mindful of:

  • Speed of transmission – bandwidth in the province may be particularly stressed right now therefore video may show increased pixelating/freezing and audio may be intermittently affected.
  • Privacy (i.e., encryption needs and/or potential hacking) and security settings.
  • Dedicated space (location) – ensuring content can’t be overheard by others for both yourself and your client.
  • Facilitation/support on the remote end – does someone need to be available to support the client with their technology or activities?

Informed consent – members are expected to obtain informed consent from their clients when there is a significant change in service (including a change to using telepractice). Consent does not need to be in writing – it can be verbal. In all cases, consent must be documented. The process of informed consent should include discussion about additional risks associated with telepractice services (which includes changes to privacy considerations and types of services that can be delivered in this manner).

ACSLPA has both a standard and a guideline related to telepractice. These documents can be accessed at the following links:

https://www.acslpa.ca/members-applicants/key-college-documents/standards-of-practice/1-7-virtual-care/

https://www.acslpa.ca/members-applicants/key-college-documents/guidelines-protocols/

ACSLPA’s Informed Consent for Service guideline is also available at https://www.acslpa.ca/members-applicants/key-college-documents/guidelines-protocols/

March 17, 2020