Changing service models to fit our landscape: a rural allied health assistant model

Mrs Lisa Baker1

1Rural Allied & Community Health, Wide Bay HHS, Queensland Health, Gayndah, Australia

Abstract:

Background
The Wide Bay HHS has seven rural hospital and Multipurpose Health Services each serviced by an outreach allied health team. The allied health team, like many others in rural areas, was challenged by distance, workforce factors, small community size and how best to meet local needs. This challenge was addressed by implementing a model with allied health assistants based at each of the seven rural locations.

Methods
In 2014 the allied health assistant roles were commenced. Various new clinics and models of care were introduced including telehealth and group clinics, inpatient, outpatient and residential care programs. Governance and safety were built into the model, including strategies such as multimodal orientation, clinical supervision, peer support and ongoing training programs.

Results
The use of telehealth and allied health assistants allowed greater accessibility for rural clients to allied health services and afforded some additional benefits to clients. Benefits were also noted at an individual, team and community level.

Discussion
The benefits of an allied health assistant workforce are now well recognized. This presentation will cover practical aspects of how to make this model of care work in rural locations where the allied health professionals are not based on site with assistants. Adaptations to service delivery, tips on allied health assistant training and recommendations are discussed in the presentation.


Biography:

Lisa is the Rural Allied and Community Health team leader with the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service, based at Gayndah Community Health in Queensland. Lisa is a speech pathologist with a masters in remote health management and has been actively involved in rural speech pathology and allied health service provision since 2002.