The increased availability and popularity of telemedicine services across the United States is great news for many people and groups. It is a particularly good development for emotional support animal patients. Over the last few years telemedicine has truly revolutionized support for ESA owners, as well people who wish to become ESA owners. It is a very exciting time to be an emotional support animal patient!
Let’s talk about some of the ways in which telemedicine is making it easier than ever before to become an ESA owner and enjoy the wonderful benefits emotional support pet ownership brings.
Telemedicine refers to any type of medicine or medical consultation that is done remotely using modern communications technology. Communication between a health care professional and a patient via smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other type of mobile device (usually using the internet) is called telemedicine. Super-fast broadband and highly powerful modern computer technology have made it easer than ever before for a patient and their health care provider (who can now be located anywhere in the entire country, or even abroad) to have fast, reliable, high-fidelity, and secure consultations.
Telemedicine brings a whole host of benefits to emotional support animal patients. For those of you who are still in the dark about this health care phenomenon, an ESA is an animal companion that provides company, friendship, love, and a calming influence to a patient who suffers from some form of mental illness. Many different psychological conditions qualify a person to become an emotional support animal owner. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, phobias (such as fear of flying), chronic stress, acute loneliness, or even suicidal thoughts are mental health conditions that qualify a person to become an emotional support pet owner. ESAs have special rights under American federal law. A certified ESA can live with its owner in rental accommodation that is otherwise “no pets allowed.” It can also travel with its owner in the cabin of a commercial airplane. In order to become an emotional support animal owner, a patient needs to get a letter from a registered mental health professional stating that the patient would benefit from owning an emotional support pet.
An emotional support animal letter can be acquired by doing a consultation with a registered mental health practitioner, such as Moosh, online or over the phone. For many people, due to their specific life circumstances, getting their ESA letter via a telemedicine consultation is a much easier and better option than going through the time-consuming rigmarole of attending a practitioner’s office in-person.
Getting an emotional support animal letter after having a telemedicine consultation is much easier for the many ESA patients who live in remote parts of the country. For some people, getting to their nearest mental health practitioner requires a long journey by road or even by plane. From some very remote places, a journey to visit a health care provider in person could take an entire day or more. Telemedicine is a lifesaver for these patients.
Some ESA patients also suffer from mobility issues, either relating to their mental illness or not. Many people who suffer with PTSD are also amputees or otherwise long-term disabled. These folks, even with the use of a disabled parking permit, can often still find getting around pretty difficult. For these people, being able to do their ESA consultation over the phone or online is a godsend.
For people whose local mental health practitioner is very busy and has a long waiting list, it can also be a much quicker process to get their support pet consultation done using telemedicine.
Some folks are just a little bit picky about who they want to discuss their mental health problems with. If they live in a small town in which “everybody knows everybody,” they may prefer the increased privacy and anonymity that comes with consulting with a mental health professional in a separate and distant area via telemedicine.
For a great many ESA patients, it’s really just a matter of saving time. In the modern world a lot of us have very busy schedules, and if we can get a telemedicine consultation – that would usually take a few hours in person – done in 20 minutes online, that is a huge help and a service well worth seeking.
It is also possible to have a consultation with a vet using telemedicine, and for pretty much all of the reasons we’ve just stated (distance issues, more choice, time saving), many ESA patients find it more convenient to use telemedicine for their emotional pet’s veterinary needs.
So it certainly is the case that telemedicine is revolutionizing support for ESA patients. In so many ways, telemedicine is making life much easier for ESA owners, and their pets!