Telehealth and virtual medicine have quickly become important tools to care for patients during this unprecedented health care crisis. The message from our network of providers was loud and clear, “We need guidance on how to deliver Reach Out and Read in a telehealth well-child visit.” So, we got to work! We gathered input from clinicians with experience in pediatric telehealth visits and worked with Reflection Films on how best to shoot a video during times of social distancing. The end result gives Reach Out and Read an additional opportunity to further integrate the promotion of foundational relationships as a standard of practice.
In film, the well-known phrase “Never work with animals or children” felt especially relevant as we staged a telehealth well-child visit between our National Medical Director, Dr. Perri Klass and a mother with three children under the age of five, who represented many families cooped up together during the COVID-19 pandemic. “No” was the word of the day as Dr. Klass valiantly tried to engage her 3-year-old patient! And yet, this is what many pediatric care providers are experiencing both in-person and remotely as young children are affected by the anxiety of this crisis. We decided that demonstrating a typical well-child visit with all the challenges of working with a family under stress and offering guidance about how to support them would be useful for our provider network.
There is no better evidence for the value of reading aloud with young children in supporting family relationships – especially during these unprecedented times.
The most rewarding part of filming the video came towards the end when Dr. Klass asked her patient if he wanted to have Mom read aloud with him. He gave a resounding “Yes!” and immediately relaxed, leaned into his mother, and engaged with her as she read the book. There is no better evidence for the value of reading aloud with young children in supporting family relationships – especially during these unprecedented times. This video will be shared with our more than 34,000 providers and will be accessible on our website and YouTube.