Providing Support for Vestibular Patients During Covid-19

By: Erica Zaia & Janine Verge

With self-isolation, Covid-19 has created a challenge in how we provide services as Audiologists assessing and managing patients with vestibular disorders. As we depend on equipment to conduct formal vestibular testing for our patients, providing objective assessments will most likely not be feasible through tele-health at this time. However, providing remote support for patients struggling with dizziness may be possible in some scenarios, as suggested below.

As a general rule, when providing eAudiology, remember:

  • Use a secure videoconference platform – you may need a business associate agreement. For instance, Microsoft products and Skype for business are HIPAA compliant.
  • Be compliant with provincial, territorial, federal privacy and agency/clinic policies, confidentiality, privacy, security and consent laws.
  • Consent can be verbal or written and should be noted in chart.
  • Continue to work within your scope of practice when providing assessment and management for vestibular disorders.
  • Make the patient aware audio/video as well as data is being transmitted and what the potential consequences might be (e.g. information is intercepted and re-transmitted).
  • Patient should be aware of security issues at their own site/with their own computer equipment.
  • To use appropriate eAudiology etiquette (e.g., dressing appropriately, having a professional background).
  • Practice ahead of time.
  • Have IT support in case something goes wrong.
  • To enhance hearing accessibility, use a microphone, use speech to text captioning if available on your videoconference platform, and always have your face seen to help with speech reading.
  • If using the telephone only, consider using a speech to text app (e.g., my call to text)have a family member present to ensure understanding, e-mail list of questions ahead of time, or consider using a relay service.

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