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Telephone and video consultation -Zoom Gloom

Telephone and video consultation -Zoom Gloom - Assist Portal

There is a new phenomenon hitting the world – Zoom Gloom! As a nurse and recent sufferer of this condition, let me explain. It is the unexplainable tiredness and low mood at the end of a video conference. Contributing factors include; poor internet connection, technical fails, people speaking with their mute button on, screen freezers, background distractions and analysing every flaw on your face. Zoom Gloom is exacerbated by back to back video meetings and there is no known cure. Or is there?
Thankfully, a team at the University of Adelaide have developed a new resource; Telephone and Video Consultations – How to identify and respond to substance use. It is a guide for health professionals who may be struggling with the transition to telephone and video consultations. It addresses the fact that in times of stress, people may start using or increase alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. The manual guides the reader through technical considerations, effective communication skills, special consideration in telephone and video consultations, risk assessments and managing challenging behaviour.
It includes a section on the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) and explains how to use the ASSIST effectively during a telephone or video consultation. The manual concludes with a chapter on personal reflection, clinical supervision and debriefing. It is good reminder to seek support during these challenging times.
As a mental health professional, I am acutely aware that our clients are struggling. Due to the requirements of social distancing, there has been a reduction in community supports and activities. Investing time and energy into conducting an effective telephone or video consultation can make a substantial difference in a person’s day and life.
In my battle with Zoom Gloom, I am going to take some advice from the manual – reflect on my practice and ensure that I am being an effective communicator in supporting my clients, no matter the medium.