Training the next generation of allied health professionals in innovative service delivery

Lauren Jeffery1, Professor Deborah Theodoros2, Professor Trevor Russell3

1Telerehabilitation Clinic Manager & Clinical Educator, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, 4067, l.harms1@uq.edu.au
2Co-Director Telerehabilitation Clinic, Centre for Research in Telerehabilitation, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, 4067, d.theodoros@uq.edu.au
3Co-Director Telerehabilitation Clinic, Centre for Research in Telerehabilitation, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, 4067, t.russell@uq.edu.au

The Telerehabilitation Clinic (TRC) is an innovative teaching and learning clinic for Allied Health students enrolled in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Queensland. The aim of the TRC is to provide audiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech pathology services to people in rural and regional Australia, where access to therapy is diminished.

A key objective of the TRC is to train the next generation of allied health practitioners to be creative and to deliver therapy via alternative modes. While there are challenges in delivering telerehabilitation services across Australia, creative solutions and ‘out there’ ideas are beginning to change what clinicians believe is possible via telerehabilitation. Research conducted in the TRC is taking these creative ideas and providing the evidence base for their use. There may be controversy when challenging people’s beliefs about traditional therapy services, but the health impacts that are possible via telerehabilitation outweigh the difficulties faced.

Students provide valuable input into our clinic through their creative thinking in the use of technology and how services might be delivered. By establishing the TRC and delivering allied health services via telerehabilitation to people in the wider community, we are able to reform services and the role of Allied Health practitioners. Telerehabilitation will become mainstream in health services within Australia in the years to come, and it is imperative that allied health graduates have the education and clinical experience in this innovative mode of service delivery.

Biography

Lauren is the University of Queensland Telerehabilitation Clinic Manager and Clinical Educator.  Lauren is a physiotherapist, with an interest in developing new programs & innovative ideas to deliver allied health services to people in rural and regional areas. Lauren has been involved with establishing audiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech pathology services within the Telerehabilitation Clinic (TRC). The TRC aims to provide exposure opportunities and service delivery for Allied Health students through learning modules and clinical placements.