Establishment of an Innovative Telehealth Speech and Language Therapy Placement as a Rapid Response to COVID-19: Sharing the Learning
Keywords:clinical placements, COVID-19, rapid response, telehealth
The aim of this evaluation was to explore practice educators’ and speech and language therapy (SLT) students’ experiences of a rapid response telehealth placement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to inform quality improvement. In March 2020, public health restrictions were imposed across Ireland in efforts to ‘flatten the curve’ in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All placements were cancelled. According to an Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists survey in April 2020, 47% of SLTs were redeployed to swabbing and contact tracing roles, and many remain redeployed seven months later. This redeployment, along with strict public health measures in clinical sites, significantly reduced the availability of clinical placements. A rapid response was required to enable students to develop clinical competencies. Although telehealth has been used to deliver speech and language therapy in other countries, it had not been used routinely in service provision in Ireland. In this article, we outline how we built on existing partnerships with practice educators, both on- and off-site, to design a much-needed telehealth placement. We explored educators’ and students’ experiences using an online focus group and online survey respectively. The evaluations of practice educators were positive in that despite their initial apprehension, they reported that this placement provided valuable learning opportunities for students while also providing benefits for clients. They also reported some technological and sustainability challenges. The students also evaluated this placement positively with 83.3% of respondents rating the placement as ‘excellent ‘and 16.7% rating it as ‘good’. All stakeholders valued this learning experience.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2020). COVID-19: Guidance for graduate programs, students, and clinical fellows. https://www.asha.org/Certification/COVID-19-Guidance-From-CFCC/
Carlin, C. H., Boarman, K., Carlin, E., & Inselmann, K. (2013). The use of E-supervision to support speech-language pathology graduate students during student teaching practica. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 5(2), 21–31. https://doi.org/10.5195/ijt.2013.6128
Carlin, C. H., Milam, J. L., Carlin, E. L., & Owen, A. (2012). Promising practices in e-supervision: exploring graduate speech-language pathology interns' perceptions. International Journal of Telerehabilitation, 4(2), 25–38. https://doi.org/10.5195/ijt.2012.6103
Elo, S., & Kyngäs, H. (2008). The qualitative content analysis process. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62(1), 107–115. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.04569.x
Greenhalgh, T., Wherton, J., Shaw, S., & Morrison, C. (2020). Video consultations for COVID-19. BMJ, 368, m998. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m998
Health Service Executive (HSE) COVID-19 Telehealth Steering Committee. (2020). Virtual health. https://healthservice.hse.ie/staff/coronavirus/working-from-home/virtual-health/virtual-health.html
Hill, A. E., Ward, E., Heard, R., McAllister, S., McCabe, P., Penman, A., Caird, E., Aldridge, D., Baldac, S., Cardell, E., Davenport, R., Davidson, B., Hewat, S., Howells, S., Purcell, A., & Walters, J. (2020). Simulation can replace part of speech-language pathology placement time: A randomised controlled trial. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 23(1), 92–102. https://doi.org/10.1080/17549507.2020.1722238
Howitt, D. (2013). Introduction to qualitative methods in psychology (2nd ed.). Pearson.
Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists. (2020). Supporting student speech and language therapy placements in the context of COVID-19: A practice educator guide to a blended approach. https://www.iaslt.ie/attachments/Supporting%20Student%20Speech%20and%20Language%20Therapy%20Placements%20in%20the%20Context%20of%20COVID-19.pdf
Overby, M. S. (2018). Stakeholders’ qualitative perspectives of effective telepractice pedagogy in speech–language pathology. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 53(1), 101–112. https://doi.org/10.1111/1460-6984.12329
Pavelko, S. L., Owens, J. R. E., Ireland, M., & Hahs-Vaughn, D. L. (2016). Use of Language Sample Analysis by School-Based SLPs: Results of a Nationwide Survey. Language, speech & hearing services in schools, 47(3), 246–258. https://doi.org/10.1044/2016_LSHSS-15-0044
QSR International Pty Ltd. (2018). NVivo 12 qualitative data analysis software. https://www.qsrinternational.com/nvivo-qualitative-data-analysis-software/home?_ga=2.261609220.82128265.1628599603-767094404.1603179693
Quigley, D., Loftus, L., McGuire, A., & O'Grady, K. (2020). An optimal environment for placement learning: listening to the voices of speech and language therapy students. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 55(4), 506–519. https://doi.org/10.1111/1460-6984.12533
Regina Molini-Avejonas, D., Rondon-Melo, S., de La Higuera Amato, C. A., & Samelli, A. G. (2015). A systematic review of the use of telehealth in speech, language and hearing sciences. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 21(7), 367–376. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1357633X15583215
Serwe, K. M., Heindel, M., Keultjes, I., Silvers, H., & Stovich, S. (2020). Telehealth student experiences and learning: A scoping review. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 4(2). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2020.040206
Speech Pathology Australia. (2014). Telepractice in speech pathology position statement. https://www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/SPAweb/Resources_for_Speech_Pathologists/Professional_Resources/HTML/Telepractice.aspx
Speech Pathology Australia. (2020). University programs: COVID-19 and accreditation https://www.speechpathologyaustralia.org.au/SPAweb/Resources_for_the_Public/University_Programs/SPAweb/Resources_for_the_Public/University_Programs/University_Programs.aspx?hkey=505701a1-5369-46ce-b2d8-798507c035cd
Stenberg, M., & Carlson, E. (2015). Swedish student nurses’ perception of peer learning as an educational model during clinical practice in a hospital setting—an evaluation study. BMC Nursing, 14(1), 48. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12912-015-0098-2
Tenforde, A. S., Borgstrom, H., Polich, G., Steere, H., Davis, I. S., Cotton, K., O’Donnell, M., & Silver, J. K. (2020). Outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy synchronous telemedicine: A survey study of patient satisfaction with virtual visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 99(11), 977–981. https://doi.org/10.1097/phm.0000000000001571
Twogood, R., Hares, E., Wyatt, M., & Cuff, A. (2020). Rapid implementation and improvement of a virtual student placement model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. BMJ Open Quality, 9(4), e001107. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjoq-2020-001107
World Health Organisation. (2020a). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation report - 51. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200311-sitrep-51-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=1ba62e57_10
World Health Organisation. (2020b). COVID-19 briefing document (March 2020): Transcript. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/transcripts/who-transcript-emergencies-coronavirus-press-conference-full-13mar2020848c48d2065143bd8d07a1647c863d6b.pdf?sfvrsn=23dd0b04_2
Zoom Video Communications Inc. (2016). Security guide. Zoom Video Communications.https://d24cgw3uvb9a9h.cloudfront.net/static/81625/doc/Zoom-Security-White-Paper.pdf
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons License "Attribution-NonCommercial No Derivs 4.0 International" (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) which permits others to use the publication as long as the authors are appropriately cited.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
- The Author grants to Coventry University an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, non-exclusive licence to publish this article in this journal in addition to the licence granted at paragraph 1 of this copyright notice.