The use of telepractice as a service delivery method has increased in Australia since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper reviews the evidence for telepractice as a service delivery method in the family and relationship services sector. It describes the acceptability of telepractice as a service delivery option for both clients and practitioners, the enablers and barriers to uptake and implementation, and the current evidence on client outcomes. Evidence-informed implications of implementing telepractice for practice in this sector are also presented at the end of the paper.
- Telepractice can be a satisfactory form of service delivery for clients and practitioners, when personal preferences and client circumstances are considered.
- Key enablers of telepractice include ensuring that service providers are sufficiently skilled in the use of virtual service delivery and that clients and organisations have access to, and the skills to use, the necessary technological resources.
- Key barriers to using telepractice include difficulties engaging clients, digital inequities and privacy risks, practitioner resistance and an organisational environment that is not set up to support telepractice.
- The benefits of telepractice compared to face-to-face services include improved access to services for certain populations and it can provide practitioners with insights into family life through video-conferencing technology.
- Some evidence suggests that telepractice may suit certain service areas (e.g. mental health related early intervention compared to other family and relationship services).