Defining the role of an allied health assistant in hand therapy

Miss Laura Isherwood1

1Barwon Health, Geelong, Australia



To clearly define the role of an Allied Health Assistant (AHA) within the Hand Therapy Department at Barwon Health.



A qualitative survey was conducted among AHA’s and Hand Therapists, to determine how staff felt the role of the AHA within the Department was currently defined, the efficiency of the role and communication methods, and the current system for the recording of completed tasks. The results were then collated and analysed, and used to create a prioritized list of tasks with a description of each. Once reviewed and approved, an orientation was provided to AHA’s, and the Task List was used during each shift.



The initial survey completed showed that although AHA presence in Hand Therapy was valuable, their role was not clearly defined. As a result, many tasks were not completed. Staff also reported that there was no clear method for communication or handover between AHA’s and therapists, which was impacting the service. These results were therefore used to help to develop the Task List.

The refined AHA Program within Hand Therapy is currently being trialled. Preliminary feedback from staff has been that channels of communication for handover are clearer, and that there is a greater understanding of the scope of the AHA role, which is contributing to greater job satisfaction and therefore a more efficient AHA program.


Significance for Allied Health:

This project will define the role of the AHA within Hand Therapy, and assist with the future direction of the AHA role in Hand Therapy.