Allied Health Assistants Within a Busy Podiatry Service – A GLCH Perspective

Amanda Hack1, Casey Howarth1
Gippsland Lakes Complete Health1

ABSTRACT

Background or Problem/ Issue:

The Podiatry service at Gippsland Lakes Complete Health (GLCH) has always been in extremely high demand with long waiting lists and difficulty responding to urgent/high priority referrals.

Service delivery models needed to be redesigned and implemented to address community podiatry needs.

This has resulted in AHA’s being an integral part of the service delivery model providing direct client service guided by the AHA Supervision & Delegation Framework.

Method or What you did?

In 2010, the Podiatry Department at GLCH consisted of one Podiatrist and one Cert 111 AHA and a long wait list for service.

Our AHA with funding support from the DHHS obtained her Certificate IV with the required Podiatry units and was provided ongoing training and supervision in the workplace.

In our current model all new clients to GLCH are screened by our Service Access teams as per the Victorian Government Community Health Podiatry Priority Tool. An appointment offered according to this screening, with a Podiatrist who conducts an assessment.

If deemed low priority and the management required is within an AHA’s Scope of Practice, they are then allocated for ongoing service with an AHA.  We now employ 3 podiatrists and 2 Cert1V AHA’s.

Results or Outcomes:

  • Ongoing low risk clients can attend routine appointments with little to no wait time with our qualified AHA’s
  • Podiatrists are now able to provide follow up wound care and high priority clients service, and are responsive to urgent podiatry referrals in a timely manner
  • Ongoing regular care for clients has reduced the severity of foot health issues and in some case eliminated them all together.
  • AHA’s are able to complete additional tasks supporting the podiatry service such as sterilising, ordering, and administrative tasks, freeing up the Podiatrist time to treat high risk/higher priority clients.
  • Any health issues are detected quickly and G.P’s alerted promptly e.g., AHA’s palpating foot pulses have detected Atrial Fibrillation.
  • Trusting relationships are built between AHA’s and patients leading to referrals to other services.
  • Funding targets are met.
  • Remote service is provided
  • Higher job satisfaction in AHA’s and Podiatrists with reduced burn out, improving staff retention.
  • Career path for AHA’s

Conclusions or Practice Implications:

The Podiatry model of care at GLCH was initially set up in response to high demand for service and difficulty recruiting qualified staff.

Embracing the Supervision and Delegation Framework and providing AHA’s with a client load within their Scope of Practice has been a resounding success at GLCH.

The service model is responsive and deliver quality Podiatry to the whole community.


BIOGRAPHY

Amanda Hack Lead Clinician Podiatry has been employed at Gippsland Lakes Complete Health for almost 10 years. Amanda has always worked in Public Sector as enjoys being part of a multi-disciplinary team and the variety of client presentations that ‘walk, hop or roll’ through the clinic door.

In her spare time she enjoys being out in the Great Outdoors and enjoying the natural attractions that East Gippsland has to offer.

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