Now, I have been a bit absent from OTalks for a while, partly due to university, then due to being tired from work, and more recently because I’m an hour ahead and like to spend evenings with my family while here in South Africa. But I decided to tune in to tonight’s OTalk because it intrigues me. The discussion is about using Skype as a tool in our work as therapists. I wanted to just go through my thoughts prior to the discussion so as to have a basis to reflect on afterwards.
First off, what uses can I think of for Skype in occupational therapy?
- Remote monitoring of clients between sessions, both in mental and physical settings, particularly with clients living in rural areas
- Interviews, initial and follow-up
- Remote counselling
- Including an expert from another location in a discussion or therapy session
- Meetings with other professionals
- Supervision for lone workers who have no appropriate supervisors or mentors
- Clients in inpatient settings or care homes can contact family and/or friends
What are the advantages of Skype?
- Time saver – instead of driving miles for a short visit, you can check up on someone from your office while they can be in the safety of their own home
- As with above, also a money saver
- And you can then see more clients in a day
- Video allows you to look out for body language and/or changes in physical appearance
- Allows for easy contact with clients, carers and/or other professionals
What are the disadvantages?
- Possible to miss out on environmental issues
- Possible to miss out on peripheral body language changes
- Not as personal as face-to-face contact
- Cannot utilise touch, such as a hand on a shoulder when someone is upset
- Can get distracted easily if you have a computer in front of you
- Client may notice that you aren’t giving them your full attention
Relevant links and articles:
- ‘Be wary of all the hype with Skype’ by Arden McGregor, MA, CPsychAssoc, CBIST, and Dennis Radman, Hons. BSc, RRP, CBIST – discusses ethics of using Skype, particularly confidentiality and privacy
I’ll update this following the discussion, but feel free to add to any of these in the comments!!!