By HARRY CLARKE
A RAPIDLY expanding student health and wellbeing program has just notched up some 5,000 telehealth consultations, delivering medical services remotely to children across Queensland’s Western Downs region.
The University of Queensland’s Centre for Online Health team has spent the past week delivering telehealth consultations to students in Dalby, Chinchilla, Miles, Wandoan and Tara as part of the milestone.
The program, Health-e-Regions, has been running for five years in partnership with Shell QGC, one of the region’s major operators in the resources industry.
It remotely provides speech pathology, occupational therapy and audiology services in the Western Downs, where there isn’t an abundance of specialised services for students at school.
Over fives years, the program has expanded to now involve primary six schools as well as a specialised service for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Dalby through the local Goondir Health Services.
Health-e-Regions originated as a research project exploring the benefits of telehealth for children at school in regard to health and well-being and educational outcomes according to teacher feedback.
From this work, UQ’s Centre for Online Health team has published several academic journal articles and now reached more than 5,000 therapy sessions for more than 150 families.
Project Manager Lisa Garner (pictured below) said the unique service had become enormously popular for children as well as their families.
“There’s a great deal of demand for these sorts of services and our program is always full to the brim,” she said.
“The feedback has always been really positive. Most parents are just really grateful that their kids have an opportunity to access the service.
“Some of the families have previously accessed services privately through other providers, but they find that the services provided by UQ students are much more tailored specifically for their child.
“The children don’t get bored, they’re always wanting to come. The sessions are tailored to exactly what the children like.
“If a kid’s into the Broncos, every exercise that they do will be related to the Broncos, if they’re into fairies, every exercise will be related to fairies, or whatever it might be that the particular child is interested in.
“The parents find it great – they don’t have to leave home, they don’t have to drive to Toowoomba or another larger centres – the services are provided in an easy care situation where the kids are at school already.”
QUOTES FROM PARENTS AND GUARDIANS OF HEALTH-E-REGIONS
“Bentley loves and enjoys his telehealth session at school, and I personally think there should be more sessions because it’s amazing how much a child enjoys and learns.”
We cannot thank Health-e-Regions and QGC enough. This service has been invaluable and has changed our daughters abilities and outlook so much in such a short time. Thank you.”
“Thank you for allowing my son the chance to participate in this great program.”
“Ryder has come so far with this program; he enjoys it and comes home and tells us all about his session.”