Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2022 Aug 20. doi: 10.1007/s00787-022-02042-2. Online ahead of print.
To ensure the continuity of care during the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) were forced to immediately adapt in-person treatment into remote treatment. This study aimed to examine the effects of pre-COVID-19 training in- and use of telepsychiatry on CAP clinicians' impressions of telepsychiatry during the first two weeks of the Dutch COVID-19 related lockdown, providing a first insight into the preparations necessary for the implementation and provision of telepsychiatry during emergency situations. All clinicians employed by five specialized CAP centres across the Netherlands were invited to fill in a questionnaire that was specifically developed to study CAP clinicians' impressions of telepsychiatry during the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 1065 clinicians gave informed consent and participated in the study. A significant association was found between pre-COVID-19 training and/or use of telepsychiatry and CAP clinicians' impressions of telepsychiatry. By far, the most favourable impressions were reported by participants that were both trained and made use of telepsychiatry before the pandemic. Participants with either training or use separately reported only slightly more favourable impressions than participants without any previous training or use. The expertise required to provide telepsychiatry is not one-and-the-same as the expertise that is honed through face-to-face consultation. The findings of this study strongly suggest that, separately, both training and (clinical) practice fail to sufficiently support CAP clinicians in the implementation and provision of telepsychiatry. It is therefore recommended that training and (clinical) practice are provided in conjunction.
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