Allied health assistants in ABI: An interdisciplinary model with an embedded AHA workbook competency program

Ms Shaeron Murray1, Ms Jacqueline Salway2, Ms Jacqui Morarty1, Dr Delwyne Stephens1

1Alfred Health, ABI Unit, Caulfield, Australia, 2Alfred Health, Caulfield, Australia


Aim:  The role of Allied Health Assistants (AHA) is being expanded across healthcare networks in Victoria, to enable Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) more time to focus on higher level tasks, such as patient diagnosis and treatment planning. The Victorian Government is investing in the development of the AHA role, and envisions AHAs of the future to be delivering broad ranging and innovative care.


Method:  At Alfred health’s Caulfield Hospital in the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Unit, AHAs are an integral part of the interdisciplinary team. Six AHAs work closely with in-patients who have experienced severe to catastrophic ABI. The AHAs are not aligned to a discipline, and are supervised by AHPs. They work with up to 6 different AHP disciplines, and often work with a particular patient undertaking tasks for a number of different clinicians, working to achieve patient goals.

Method:  In order to support AHA staff with the high level of interdisciplinary learning and management of complex patient caseloads, a learning program – the ABI AHA Workbook – was developed by AHP expert in ABI. The program is designed to be worked through individually, in small groups, and 1:1 with the AHA’s supervising AHP. Competencies cover a broad range of areas within Speech pathology, Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy, Nutrition, Psychology, Orthotics, Neuropsychology, and Social work.


Results: The AHA model will be outlined, and the AHA workbook will be demonstrated, as an example of an innovative practice model in Allied health. Further, ways in which the program is to be evaluated and shared will be discussed.