Adapting our services & looking ahead to the future

August 07 2020

Since March, our services have had to change drastically as the world adapts, and continues to live with, Coronavirus.

Therese Millar, our Therapy Manager, shares with us her experiences over the past few months and gives a brief overview of how things have had to, and will continue to, change in terms of our therapy service. 

“No-one can say that the last 5 months have been uneventful! March found us trying to keep a service going, with all the uncertainty and daily changes; it was almost a relief when the government announced a complete lockdown. We had already started to contact families to swap their planned face to face sessions for virtual sessions via video call instead. The therapists alongside the families were on a steep learning curve...whoever had heard of Zoom??”

At the same time, the financial impact the crisis was going to have on us, as a charity that usually relies on charitable donations and fundraising for approx. 80% of our income, was becoming increasingly acute. The decision was made to furlough a number of our staff across every department. However, we retained a core team of our most senior therapists to continue to offer therapy. We put a call out to all the Health boards, and families, to contact us if any family or young person needed any support from us.

For the first 3 months we only offered virtual sessions; for those families who joined us for virtual consults very early on, a huge thank you for being patient when technology was less than perfect! Luckily we all had our dolls to help us demonstrate what we were trying to show parents. And our therapists put in countless hours and lots of effort to make things work as effectively as possible including re-arranging their own homes and spending hours practicing and testing audio and visual tools.

 

By the end of June, based on clinical and non-clinical need, we re-started face-to-face sessions. This was thought about very carefully and a robust process was put in place to make sure children, families and staff were at minimal risk of either catching or passing on Covid-19.

We are hoping to increase the amount of face-to face sessions we offer, but safety is paramount and making sure we do it right is so important. For now, our policy remains ‘virtual first’.

This huge change in all our lives has given us a lot of food for thought; out of this awful situation we want to seize the opportunity to rethink how we deliver our services. As we continue to change and adapt, it would be wonderful to learn from our families to hear what they think, and need, going forward. A questionnaire is going to be sent out shortly to find out more, but please feel free to email us with any of your comments and ideas. My email address is Theresem@cerebralpalsycymru.org "

 

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