Setting The Scene: Telehealth

Minimize any potential distractions in view of the camera in your workspace. Similarly, encourage caregivers to minimize distractions in the room where the patient will be completing the session. 

Young patients say they prefer a "less formal" room set-up, so you may wish to avoid having a table between the patient and the video-recording device (or you and the video-recording device). 

Many seating arrangements can work for children. Children can sit next to the caregiver, between the caregivers, on a caregiver's lap, or in front of the caregiver in either their own chair or on the floor. 

Larger rooms tend to work best with younger patients, so they can move around. In addition, if a child's motor skills, play, exploration, and movements are being assessed, the room should be large enough for this activity to fit within the camera frame. 

Teens may prefer to be seen without a caregiver present. Use clinical judgment to ensure appropriate privacy is maintained (e.g., patient feels comfortable they are not being overheard). If a patient expresses any discomfort with full video, text/chat functions are available in some telehealth systems and may be useful for older patients (likely over 11 years old).   

Ensure your video is sufficiently "zoomed in" for the patient to see your facial expressions. 

Try to maintain a constant gaze into the camera, rather than frequently looking away at your computer or notes. 

If you can, use picture in picture feature (e.g., where you can see both yourself and the patient) to see how you are being viewed by the patient, or if there is something distracting in the background (e.g., your cat!). 

Patients may enjoy using telehealth background features. This can support the patient's sense of control, by allowing the patient to choose the "location" for next session (e.g., in outer space or even upload a background picture of a favorite location).