Hello, Chatterbox Families!
We hope that this letter finds you well. What a long, strange year it has been. You have all been such great supporters and advocates for your children by ensuring they stay involved in therapy during these unprecedented times. We cannot sing your praises enough!
We began offering teletherapy services to our patients last April so that they could continue to access the therapy they needed while everyone sheltered in place. In mid-June 2020, we returned to offering in-person therapy services and have since gradually increased our face-to-face visits for over 90% of the visits we provide to children each week. We are proud to say that we have done so very successfully while keeping our staff and patients safe and healthy.
Teletherapy has been such a wonderful tool that allows us to provide continuity of care for the children we serve. We are so grateful that insurance companies quickly jumped into action at the start of COVID-19 and that parents were willing to give it a try. Now that we are over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and the cases of COVID-19 are consistently staying lower, we feel that it is time to re-assess our COVID-19 response according to the current situation. At Chatterbox, our belief has always been that we should do what is best for the children we treat. With this in mind, we believe that children make optimal progress through ongoing face-to-face instruction versus ongoing teletherapy services. The children who have returned to face-to-face therapy have continued to make leaps and bounds with their progress, whereas many of the children we have treated solely via virtual means are beginning to show stagnant progress and even, in some cases, regression of skills previously learned.
We do recognize the value of teletherapy services as a means for providing therapy in exceptional/emergency situations. One bright side of COVID-19 is that it has opened the door to prevent children from missing the therapy they need when unexpected situations arise.
It is for this reason, that we will be updating our policy regarding the provision of teletherapy services effective July 1, 2021. Our policy will be as follows:
- We will no longer provide ongoing therapy services for children solely via teletherapy.
- We will reserve teletherapy visits for emergency situations, such as when families have transportation issues or contagious illness of child or family member (ex: pink eye)
The health and safety of the children we serve are of the utmost importance to us. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have followed CDC guidelines pertaining to healthcare environments and will continue to follow them as long as they are needed.
In order to ensure that we are providing therapy for children in the safest environment possible, we have implemented many safety precautions over the past year. Our main goal in doing so is to ensure that your most precious cargo is in good hands when they are in our care.
These precautions include:
- Remi-halo air purifiers have been installed at both locations and are continuously purifying the air, killing common viruses and bacteria.
- Health screenings of patients and staff upon entry of our clinics
- Hand washing/sanitizing for all individuals who enter our clinic
- Frequent disinfection of commonly touched surfaces
- Disinfection of furniture, toys, and therapy supplies in between sessions
- Mask/face shields are worn during all contact with patients
- Waiting rooms have been closed to limit the number of people in our clinic at one time
- Limiting 1 adult per child in the clinic
These precautions will remain in place until further notice and will be based on CDC guidelines for healthcare settings.
If you have any concerns or questions regarding this matter, please reach out to your child’s therapist or one of our office managers to discuss.
Beth Fleming, M.S., CCC-SLP
Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist
CEO/Owner Chatterbox Pediatric Therapy