One referral tool for AHAs – maintaining accountability

Mrs Lucy Whelan1

1Monash Health, Cheltenham, Australia


Aim: To establish an appropriate written referral tool that allows for written support of delegation to all AHAs in the network. Limiting this to one tool allows the Allied Health professionals across the network to be aware of the expectation and the information required for appropriate delegation.

Method: Referral tools were collated from internal programs and departments and some external benchmarking took place. In line with the Monash Health internal referral forms, a referral form was formulated using the ISBAR format. This referral form was developed and will be trialled across the network in early 2017 on the premise that all referrals must be written and stored in the medical record.

Results: On network survey of AHAs in mid-2016, 72% of respondents receive their referrals verbally from an AHP; 36% of respondents reported that referrals are stored in medical record.

Further results will be available in March 2017 after trial of the newly established form.

Significance of the findings to Allied Health: It is a medicolegal requirement that referrals are documented in the medical record and are written in order that the patient and their care team are clear as to what is expected. The fact that only 36% of respondents could say that referrals are stored in the medical record exposed a large risk and indicates a large gap in communication for referrals to the AHA workforce. It is important that while a reciprocal conversation is encouraged for delegation to AHAs that it must be backed up in written form.