Allina Health fast-tracks telemental heath appointments due to coronavirus
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From her home office, Dr. Cheryl Bemel is re-enacting a patient visit.
A psychologist with Allina Health, she’s continuing to see patients, just in a different way now.
"I use a headset when I’m speaking to them so it’s actually like a virtual TV show where they see me in real time, and I see them in real time," Bemel explained.
It’s called telemental health, where confidential appointments are being conducted virtually.
"What my colleagues and I are offering patients through telemental health is that stability they find from their provider, and the continuity is incredibly important," she said.
Bemel said the system was supposed to roll out later this year but was rushed due to COVID-19 pandemic.
"That’s right, we were being trained for the last couple of weeks and suddenly it was all systems go," she shared.
Already this week, Dr. Bemel has seen nearly two dozen patients, some new to therapy.
"Patients have great gratitude for being able to connect, therapy is a very grounding experience," Bemel said.
She added that everyone can benefit by taking timeouts and having space in your home to do that. She said decluttering and cleansing are great things to do.
And, she said remember to have gratitude for what you do have right now, which for many families includes more time together.
"We need to remember that human beings have survived things like this before, even though it probably hasn’t happened in most of our lifetimes, it’s kind of pandemic, but we are resilient creatures, we are very adaptable creatures, so it’s really about getting through these moments and knowing we can come out of this," Bemel said.