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The “Allied in the Regions” project, a collaborative effort between Optimal Living Therapy (OLT) and Fly2 Health Group, has been a resounding success in addressing the critical shortage of allied health services in the Great Southern region. This initiative aimed to establish an Allied Health Assistant (AHA) training framework, supported by a fly-in-fly-out service model and a solo therapist model, to enhance the availability of allied health services and create a pathway for future allied health service delivery.

Our project has made a significant impact on individuals with disabilities by increasing the local workforce of AHAs and providing more accessible AHA services. This has led to improved outcomes and greater support for participants, extending the reach of their plans.

Developing discipline-specific training frameworks for AHAs was a challenging yet rewarding process. The frameworks, tailored to three disciplines, occupational therapy, speech pathology and physiotherapy, have equipped AHAs with essential practical skills and knowledge for effective care delivery in community practice.

The success of our project is evident through a few key outcomes;

  • The increased flight frequency of Fly2Health to the Great Southern region, from fortnightly to twice per week, showcasing a boost in NDIS funded services delivery;
  • The completion of AHA training frameworks by support workers who transitioned to AHAs and were operational in Albany by the end of 2023;
  • A 50% increase in hours of service delivered in the short time frame the AHAs were operational.

Looking ahead, these valuable frameworks and resources will be made public by NDS later this year, allowing organisations to benefit from the wealth of information created during this project.

We are immensely grateful for the support from National Disability Services , Department of Communities WA , and Fly2 Health Group throughout this journey. Their commitment has been pivotal to our success. I also want to express my heartfelt appreciation to our dedicated team whose hard work has been instrumental in making this project a success – Kennedy Lay Therese Sullivan Nandi Reynders Samantha Palmer Beatrice Torres Megan Stephens.

As we move forward, we aim to continue expanding on the AHA model of care, focusing on implementing AHAs into our workforce to promote top of scope practice for our therapists and maximise outcomes and value for money from plans for participants.

In conclusion, the “Allied in the Regions” project stands as a testament to effective collaboration and positive impact on individuals with disabilities. We are excited about the future possibilities this initiative holds for improving allied health services in regional areas.

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