TELEHEALTH & TELETHERAPY FAQs
What is "Telehealth" & "Teletherapy"?
Telehealth is online occupational therapy services delivered via the internet as an option for remote location patients, as a complement or temporary replacement (when necessary) to in-person sessions. Telehealth therapy is not an intervention; it is a connection and at Zier Institute it brings occupational therapists and clients together when outside circumstances keep us apart. Live video sessions are provided through a personal computer, iPad, or smartphone via secure, HIPAA-approved platforms. Zier Institute therapists and designated family members are present in real time.
What do you need to participate in Telehealth Services?
You will need an internet connection, a quiet space, and a table or chair in order to stay within camera view. Telehealth uses Zoom and/or Cisco Webex platforms – (similar technology as FaceTime or Skype). A link is sent to your email prior to your sessions. You will be provided an alternative way to contact your OT should technology issues arise during the virtual therapy session.
Why use Teletherapy?
Benefits of Occupational Teletherapy include:
Convenience and continuity of care regardless of outside influences; distance, weather, illness, schedules, travel, or infectious exposure. Stay home, stay safe, and stay in your pajamas if you want – teletherapy brings treatment to the comfort of your own home.
Increases access to occupational therapy, including providing telehealth in rural Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois communities. Finding specialized treatment or therapy can be challenges for those living in rural and remote areas. The introduction of telehealth connects clinicians with citizens throughout the state.
Does Occupational Teletherapy have the same impact?
Children respond well to teletherapy because they are growing up in a technological age. The screens act as a conduit between the occupational therapist and child/family as they facilitate therapeutic play with toys* and games that the child has access to in the home. This practice can help increase carryover of skills outside of the therapy session. Utilizing their own toys and household items minimizes materials that parents are required to supply. Telemedicine occupational therapy offers a clinically advantageous means of engaging clients and caregivers in the therapeutic process within their own environment.
* Toys may be recommended but the purchase of new toys is not required. Prior to each appointment, parents receive a therapy plan so that they know what to expect during each session.
Do parents or guardians need to be present for each session?
Telemedicine occupational therapy combines the principles of coaching and family empowerment, making parents and/or caregivers a key component of therapy, especially when it comes to toddlers. Parents and therapists work together to design an individualized telehealth strategy based on your child’s profile.
For the actual session, a parent can log on to the session and then can sit with their child (if recommended) while their therapist works through the session. If there are materials that are needed for the session, they are either shared on-screen or sent via email before the session.
Does insurance cover Teletherapy?
The acceptance of telehealth & teletherapy treatment has grown in many states. Talk with your OT provider and your insurance company to determine if telehealth can be billed to your insurance. In light of the recent limitations of in-person visits as well as travel restrictions, many insurance policies have expanded coverage for Telehealth services.
Is Telehealth for Zier Institute only available in Nebraska?
Great question! Zier Institute and our sister clinic, Amy Zier and Associates in Chicago, have pediatric occupational therapists licensed and offering teletherapy services throughout Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois. If you have questions on therapists and availability, please contact us at email@example.com.
What ages are best for Teletherapy?
Speech and language therapy and occupational therapy for toddlers, young children up through the teenage years is focused on providing a lot of parent education and modeling. Teletherapy for toddlers is no different. During your sessions, our therapists guide the child and families while they participate in therapeutic activities together. We are able to establish engagement and family systems support with children and adolescents alike.
How often is Teletherapy provided?
Treatment frequency is determined based on the family and client needs. Typically, children that are 4 years old and younger benefit from shorter but more frequent therapy sessions. In contrast, older children can participate and benefit from longer sessions. Your therapist collaborates with you to determine a plan works best for your child.
Can new patients start with Telehealth?
Typically, an initial visit or two in-clinic is recommended to establish rapport and to confirm that teletherapy is a good option for a particular child. After that initial visit, a schedule can be set up just like we would a traditional in-clinic visit. During the COVID19 pandemic, we are completing online evaluations with families to start treatment during a time when emotional and developmental support is so deeply needed.
How do we know if Occupational Teletherapy is working for us?
While telehealth does work for many parents and children – it may take some getting used to. Zier Institute therapists discuss ongoing progress with families in Nebraska and Iowa to ensure success and make adjustments to treatment plans as needed. Please discuss any concerns or changes with your OT. We are committed to providing the best treatment options for the care for your child
Teletherapy is endorsed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
Interested in Teletherapy Services?
Sign up here for more information on or to request an appointment for Telehealth Therapy.
Bel Air Plaza
12100 West Center Rd.
Omaha, NE 68144
Larry M. Zier, OTD, OTR/L
Stephanie Young, OTD, OTR/L
Emilee Hunter-Maguire, OTD/OTR/L