Integrated Allied Health Services in Rural Communities
In June, 2015 Shire community members, clinicians and healthcare funders met to discuss concerns regarding the future delivery of Allied Health services in the Banana Shire.
A primary problem identified the lack of an integrated service model. This has resulted in prolonged vacancies, sporadic service provision and limited access to Allied Health services within the Banana Shire. A pilot project to improve Allied Health service delivery in the Banana Shire is underway. This will address the Allied Health needs in: Biloela, Moura, Theodore, Taroom, Baralaba and Wowan (population of 15,742 people spread over 28,577 square kilometres).
This project is part of the Integrated Care Innovation Fund that is coordinated by the Clinical Excellence Division of Queensland Health.
Integrated Service Provision
Service mapping and collaborative planning (that includes members of the community) will support the creation of improved Allied Health recruitment models. Shared facilities and various shared employment arrangements will be explored to maximise resources and service delivery. Referral pathways will be established to promote early access, as well as facilitate continuity of care between providers.
Allied Health Assistants role development
Allied Health Assistants will have a major role in providing care locally, and will assist treatment continuation and progression under the guidance of an allied health professional.
Allied Health Services will be delivered via telehealth to GP practices, hospitals, schools, aged care facilities and the in the patients’ homes. Allied Health Assistants will be an integral part of this model of care.
Co-ordinated Allied Health Planning
Many services are managed and funded through regional or state based providers. These services are planned with limited consultation or understanding of the specific needs of the rural community. This leads to fragmentation and inconsistencies in service provision for some communities. This project will implement co-ordinated planning.
Each community within the Shire has available health infrastructure. In some cases there is a need for specific equipment in a community. The planning process for Allied Health services will include infrastructure plans and shared equipment and workspaces across disciplines and providers.
The majority of the Allied Health services currently provided in rural and remote communities are funded through Health and Hospital Services. If there was an increase in the availability of private practice services these services could be funded through other Allied Health funding programs.
Increasing access to Private Practice has the potential to increase access to additional funding options and increase the total funding for Allied Health services within the Banana region, resulting in a decrease in the amount of primary care Allied Health services funded through the HHS. Consequently this would allow an increased focus on early intervention, rehabilitation and Acute Care Services. There are a number of support factors required to enable effective service delivery in rural locations. Community based planning has been identified as essential to ensure that all available human and physical resources are used to support local service delivery, in the most effective and efficient way.
PO Box 368, 66 Callide St
BILOELA QLD 4715
(07) 4992 1040