Ms Kait Brown1
1South West Healthcare, Warrnambool, Australia
Children’s development in their early years has a lasting impact on their learning and education outcomes later in life. In response to increasing referrals for children with developmental delays, South West Healthcare, with the support of DHHS “Advanced Practice in Allied Health Workforce” funding, developed an innovative Advanced Practice role.
A competency package was developed, to enable a Speech Pathologist to work in an Advanced Developmental Paediatric Practitioner (ADPP) role, by completing competencies in tasks that are traditionally done by an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist.
Instead of children attending appointments with multiple team members (eg: Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist), the ADPP would provide a holistic “one-stop-shop” needs-based assessment across all developmental domains, to minimise service duplication, and ensure timely access to early assessment and diagnosis.
A multidisciplinary team developed the clinical competency package. Clinical governance and risk management tools were also developed.
Implementation of the ADPP role resulted in:
- Earlier identification of developmental issues not identified on original referrals
- Earlier onward referrals
- Increased therapy intensity
- High client and staff satisfaction
- Strengthened workforce collaboration.
Significance of findings to Allied Health:
The ADPP role is a valuable addition to paediatric services, particularly in rural and regional areas where access to an appropriately skilled and experienced workforce may be limited.
The competency package could also be expanded to include learning and assessment for the “communication” domain, so that a Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist could also be trained as an ADPP.
Kait is currently the Manager of Allied Health and Ambulatory Rehabilitation at South West Healthcare. With a clinical background as a paediatric Speech Pathologist, Kait also has a wealth of experience in managing and developing healthcare services. Kait believes that Allied Health’s capacity for innovation and “thinking outside the square” are vital for the future of healthcare delivery, particularly in our rural and regional areas.