National leader in pediatric home health care adapts to COVID-19 crisis

Houston, TexasThrive Skilled Pediatric Care (Thrive SPC), a national provider of clinical home care for medically fragile children, has started to provide therapy visits remotely through its new Teletherapy program.

“We are pleased to offer telehealth options to those families needing physical, occupational, and speech and language therapy services at home,” said Mike Hoyt, Thrive SPC senior vice president and chief operating officer-services. “In these uncertain times, I am excited to work with such an amazing and agile team to create innovative programs like this, which allow us to provide care in the home in a way that protects staff, families, and the community at large by limiting exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Physical Therapist Danny Hoang was one of the first therapists to have a remote visit with a Thrive SPC patient, a two-and-half year-old boy with Down Syndrome, and his mom.

Like everyone using technology during this time, there can be frustration with video bandwidth and audio lag time, as well as comfort level with using technology, according to Hoang. But the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

“This caregiver mom was comfortable with tech and eager to be more engaged with her child. I was able to share tips and tools on what to avoid during therapy and ways to motivate the child,” said Hoang.

“In general, these visits offer a great opportunity for parents to engage and play with their children, armed with new knowledge and tools. Thrive SPC has the resources and the willingness to help families be successful with Teletherapy.”

Working remotely has afforded Hoang the opportunity to also hone his own skills.

“This is a learning experience for us all and an opportunity to empathize with one another,” he shared. “I am learning to observe more and read caregivers’ body language to make sure I am having maximum impact. I am adjusting my wording to use laymen’s terms and being mindful that visits may need to start at 30 minutes and build to a full hour due to the child’s attention span or the caregiver’s comfort level.”

Hoang is a University of Texas graduate with a degree in kinesiology who received his doctorate in physical therapy from University of St. Augustine.

Many families have been eagerly awaiting a virtual therapy option, especially in light of the COVID-19 health crisis, according to Thrive SPC Therapy Clinical Quality Director Belinda West.

“Our therapists have been educated on the standards, technology, and clinical expectations necessary to deliver therapeutic impact that meets or exceeds what is usually done onsite with our patients,” said West.

 “I’m grateful that we are able to ensure that our patients don’t lose the skills they have gained from essential therapies that further their functional development,” said West.

The Teletherapy program is currently offering visits and evaluations, dependent upon location and insurance verification, across its Texas locations in Austin, Conroe, College Station, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, League City, Lubbock, San Antonio, Temple, and Tyler.

Thrive Skilled Pediatric Care, which has a national resource center in Wakefield, Massachusetts, provides care and services to medically fragile and developmentally challenged children in more than 30 locations across the country in the states of Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas.

Photo: Thrive Skilled Pediatric Care Physical Therapist Danny Hoang