Michele remembers the first day when she and her family used TeleCare videoconferencing services to connect virtually with Hillside’s Kristin Pusey. “It took some getting used to,” mom Michele recalls of the initial online meetings between her family and Pusey, a Clinician in Hillside’s General Prevent program. “There were some complications at first— COVID made everything more complicated, really. But we figured it out with Kristin.” Today, she says, “everybody’s gotten up to speed. We all know what to do.” When it’s time for a regularly scheduled appointment, the family gathers around their laptop computer on a living room table to talk with Pusey. This makes connecting easy, and most of all safe and convenient. For Michele and her husband, Hector, those criteria—particularly safety—have been top of mind. Pusey has been working with their kids on a range of behavioral issues, even as physical health concerns have left some family members immunocompromised. This has required caution in arranging sessions with Pusey during the COVID-19 pandemic: Face-to-face when possible, but when not, TeleCare bridges the gap. That assistive technology “has really made a huge difference” in her work with this family, Pusey says—and the same can be said throughout Hillside. Even during the pandemic’s worst days, this secure, encrypted tool has allowed essential connections to be maintained. These include families meeting with Hillside clinicians; youth in residential treatment engaging with their own families; and teachers leading remote learning when in-person classes were not in session. Demand for this HIPAA-compliant technology skyrocketed with the arrival of COVID-19, and has remained strong: TeleCare visits across Hillside numbered approximately 2 per day, pre-pandemic, compared to more than 300 per day today. Thanks to TeleCare and the adaptive partnership between Pusey and Michele and Hector’s family, their children—Angel, 16; Wyatt, 13; Alex, 12; and Ellie, 4—are getting the support they need during a challenging time. “Kristin is great to work with, and it’s great not having to miss sessions when an in-person meeting won’t work,” Michele says. “It’s good for the kids to have her to talk to. It really helps.” Thank you to all our donors for the support that makes TeleCare and other technology investments possible. Support Hillside today.
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