Introduction: There are no published procedural or safety guidelines for home-based telemental health (TMH) therapy with youth, despite the unique challenges and risks of providing services to this population outside of a traditional clinic setting. We developed clinical, logistical, and safety procedures for home-based TMH with youth in the context of a large clinical trial.
Methods: A Targeted Approach to Safer Use of Antipsychotics in Youth (SUAY) study identifies youth ages 3-17 who are prescribed second-generation antipsychotic medication for non-psychotic disorders within large healthcare systems. Prescribing physicians receive psychopharmacology consultation. Patients receive a "navigator" to coordinate treatments and access to TMH if they do not have a local therapist. We optimized access by allowing TMH sessions to take place in the family's home, while providing guidelines for privacy, safety, and in-session crises.
Results: Clinical issues included providing flexibility in the treatment modality and engaging families. Logistical issues included remote consenting for treatment and troubleshooting technological problems. Safety issues included crisis and safety planning with the youth and family before and during treatment.
Discussion: The provision of home-based TMH therapy for youth requires adaptations to existing TMH procedural and safety guidelines to optimize clinical care, technology coordination, and safety.Trial registration number and trial register: Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT03448575.
Keywords: Home telecare; mental health; remote consultation; telehealth; telemedicine.