Providing multidisciplinary pain management to regional South Australia: establishing a timely and cost-effective model of service delivery

Orlando J, Semple T, Edwards S, Dow M

CALHN Pain Management Unit, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide SA, Australia

Background: Consumers living in regional South Australia have traditionally travelled to Adelaide to access tertiary-level pain management services. SA Health recently invested in the delivery of multidisciplinary outreach pain services as part of a state-wide model of care to address the inequities in access.

Process: The CALHN Pain Management Unit commenced a two-day, monthly multidisciplinary outreach service at Whyalla Hospital in May 2018. Telehealth is utilised to augment care between site visits. Pain questionnaires as part of the electronic Persistent Pain Outcome Collaboration (ePPOC) are recorded at referral and at end of episode, as well as health literacy and patient engagement scores.

Analysis: Over 18 months, 125 patients received input through the outreach service. There were 325 occasions of service. Pain questionnaires at end of episode were completed by 62 patients and illustrated improvements in psychosocial measures, such as DASS-21 depression and pain self-efficacy. Health literacy scoring was marginal/limited (53%) and engagement was low (46%). Staff travel costs to Whyalla totalled $42,000; avoided patient travel reimbursements to Adelaide totalled $54,000.

Outcomes: The CALHN Pain Management Unit improved access to pain management services in regional South Australia whilst simultaneously reduced the economic burden of providing this service. Two additional outreach sites have since been established in Port Pirie and Port Lincoln. The challenges in this patient population include high levels of pain interference; high levels of psychosocial distress; and low levels of consumer health literacy and engagement. Providing pain management into regional areas remains an area for continued service improvement.

Joseph Orlando

Joseph Orlando is a Senior Physiotherapist in the CALHN and works across the Pain Management Unit, Spinal Assessment Clinics and the Emergency Department of the Royal Adelaide Hospital. He has undertaken postgraduate qualifications in musculoskeletal physiotherapy and has published research on topics related to telehealth and low back pain.

Implementing a behaviour management approach in the hospital setting for individuals with challenging behaviours during acute traumatic brain injury

Block, H.1,2, Sarah C. Hunter1, Michelle Bellon1 and Stacey George1

1 Southern Adelaide Local Health, SA Health, 2Division of Allied Health, Flinders Medical Centre, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, Adelaide, Australia 


Behaviours of concern in acute traumatic brain injury (TBI) present risks including harm to patients, equipment destruction, and workplace violence. This study aimed to determine if implementing a clinically pragmatic behaviour management approach for behaviours of concern in acute TBI reduces use of restraints, security incidences, acute length of stay admission and cost, thereby improving progress to rehabilitation. The intervention group (n = 23) consisted of acute TBI patients exhibiting behaviours of concern who received a behaviour management approach at two acute hospitals in South Australia, compared with a historical control group from both sites (n = 74). Fidelity results demonstrated high level of adherence to the implemented behaviour management approach. Intervention group had significant lower use of mechanical restraints (p = 0.03), and significantly lower acute admission costs (p = 0.034). Trends in lower pharmacological restraint usage, lower acute hospital length of stay and time from admission to rehabilitation acceptance were recorded. These pilot results contribute to improving quality of health care. Future studies are required to investigate evidence-based behaviour management interventions for acute TBI patients using rigorous knowledge translation implementation designs.

Heather Block

Heather Block is an occupational therapist and PhD Candidate. She has extensive clinical experience working as a clinical lead occupational therapist with adults with neurological conditions. Heather is a PhD Candidate with Caring Futures Institute at Flinders University. Her PhD studies are investigating management of challenging behaviours after traumatic brain injury. Heather has experience in clinical education and lecturing in Occupational Therapy at Flinders University and coordinating research projects at Southern Adelaide Local Health Network.

Home-Based Pulmonary Rehabilitation Pilot – A response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Nicola Smart1, Michelle McMahon1
Bass Coast Health


Background or Problem/ Issue:

Lung disease contributes to 7.5% of the overall health burden in Australia (AIWH,2019).  Pulmonary rehabilitation can help improve quality of life and exercise capacity and reduce symptoms and hospitalisation rates (Lung Foundation, 2017).  During the COVID-19 pandemic, centre-based group exercise and education programs at Bass Coast Health were suspended due to the risk of community virus transmission.  A safe and effective alternative rehabilitation program was required for a high-risk respiratory population.  Home-based pulmonary rehabilitation programmes have been found to deliver potentially equivalent benefits to traditional centre-based pulmonary rehabilitation (Lung Foundation, 2017).  Therefore, a prospective Home-based interventional Pulmonary Rehabilitation pilot was developed, aiming to improve exercise capacity, shortness of breath, fatigue and quality of life in parity with our centre-based program.  This was particularly pertinent in the rural setting due to barriers accessing health services.

Method or What you did?

An evidence-based Clinical Guideline was developed with clear inclusion and exclusion criteria.   Waitlisted patients residing in Bass Coast were screened for eligibility by respiratory nurses.  Patients were enrolled in a six-week exercise and an eight-week education component.  A physiotherapist completed an initial Home Visit to assess patient’s health background and safety to exercise.  The one-minute sit-stand test was used to measure exercise capacity, and perceived exertion, pulse rate and SpO2 were recorded.  Each patient received a tailored exercise program and education booklet.  Patients were called weekly to discuss the program, their exercises and any issues.  At the program completion, each patient was reassessed in the home and a survey was completed.  All patient contact adhered to organisational COVID-19 infection control procedure.

Results or Outcomes:

Differences in measures from baseline to program completion was analysed using descriptive statistics. Five participants completed the program in the analysis timeframe (one female, four males, aged 64-74).  The mean increase in exercise capacity was 18.9% (+2.6 sit-stands).  Breathlessness and fatigue were inconsistently reported.  Participants responded positively and reported improved quality of life.

Conclusions or Practice Implications:

This pilot program addressed exercise capacity, breathlessness and quality of life.  Early indicators are positive, however due to the small sample size and lack of available data for comparison to the centre-based program, more data is required to fully understand the program’s efficacy.  The program establishes an alternative delivery mode from centre-based program which may help reduce wait times and improve patient outcomes. Principles may be useful for other hospitals to implement in their own organisation.


  1. AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare). (2019). Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015.
  2. Australia and New Zealand Lung Foundation. (2017). Pulmonary Rehabilitation Clinical Practice Guidelines.


I am a Grade 1 Physiotherapist (Doctor of Physiotherapy, University of Melbourne) who worked at Bass Coast Health (2019-2020).  My passion is rural health, addressing the health gap between urban and rural settings and connecting with the community.  I enjoy working in a supportive, team environment.

Thinking outside of the square: Peer Supervision Groups

Beth Shields

Background or Problem/ Issue:
Clinical supervision is well known and widely practiced as a key support of quality and safe healthcare and health professional wellbeing. Evidence supports completing clinical supervision with a supervisor other than your line manager, and regularly evaluating supervisory relationships to ensure they remain a good fit. However, for senior and sole clinicians in a rural health service there is often a small pool of possible supervisors, with the default options generally being completing supervision with the line manager, or partnering with one supervisor for a prolonged period of time.

Method or What you did?
We followed a plan, do, study, act methodology to trial a model of peer supervision groups, initially amongst a group of 4 senior Occupational Therapists. The model was based on Counselling research and was in use at Monash Health. We set a 3 month trial period and completed pre and post evaluations with involved clinicians, using the clinical supervision evaluation questionnaire. A qualitative follow up interview was also conducted.

Results or Outcomes:
Pre-evaluations demonstrated all respondents felt the Peer Supervision group’s purpose was clear and the process would be effective, but were unsure what the impact would be. Post-evaluations confirmed the purpose of the Peer Supervision group had remained clear, the process had been effective and the impact had been positive. Qualitative feedback added getting together as a group and having time to ask clinical questions was valuable, and the group was pleased they had been able to keep the focus on restorative and formative elements of supervision. Key challenges included allowing sufficient time to meet, enabling sufficient opportunities for each clinician to receive supervision in a peer environment and maintaining an appropriate group size. The group recommended that an interprofessional group could work well.

Conclusions or Practice Implications:
Commencing a Peer Supervision group has been a valuable initiative to improve access to clinical supervision for senior clinicians at Gippsland Southern Health Service. Subsequent to this initial trial we’ve also commenced Peer Supervision groups in our Physiotherapy and Social Work teams, and have commenced an interprofessional group of senior and sole clinicians. We feel this approach could work well in other rural health services with small teams. However, we would recommend offering this model to Grade 2 or higher clinicians, capping the group size at 5 participants, setting clear shared expectations on the group’s purpose and processes and regularly evaluating the impact of the group.

Bio to come

Reducing the Waitlist for a Rural Public Community Allied Health Department

Sarah Meney1
Gippsland Southern Health Service / Bass Coast Health1


Background or Problem/ Issue:

Gippsland Southern Health Service (GSHS) is a small regional health service, providing services to the South Gippsland Shire. The physiotherapy department at GSHS had a large waitlist. The STAT model of care has been recognised as a way of managing referrals in the metropolitan setting. This project aimed to determine if the STAT model of care could be used at GSHS to reduce and ultimately remove the physiotherapy waitlist.

Method or What you did?

An audit of physiotherapy referrals and the current waitlist was conducted. New appointment times were then scheduled for each clinician and bookings were made by Allied Health Assistants or our intake team. The waitlist was then monitored to track progress.

Results or Outcomes:

The physiotherapy waitlist reduced from 249 to 112 referrals in four months. All streams of physiotherapy referrals reduced over this time at twice the rate we expected. However, some referrals reduced at a faster rate than others. This was done with no additional resources.

Conclusions or Practice Implications:

The STAT model of care has successfully been used to reduce the physiotherapy department waitlist and is progressing well ahead of target. GSHS is already taking steps to implement the model in other departments.


I work at BCH as team leader of physiotherapy and allied health assistance. I completed this project in 2019 while studying my Master of Health Administration / MBA. At that time, I was working at GSHS as a physiotherapist. I also have an 18 month old daughter and volunteer regularly.

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

Amanda Hack1, Casey Howarth1
Gippsland Lakes Complete Health1


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.


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.

Effect of dynamic contracture management following Low Load Prolonged Stretch to obtain an increase of ROM.

Flora Versyck1
BASKO Healthcare1


Background or Problem/ Issue:

Contracture management can be done in different ways but they are not always effective and painless. The purpose of LLPS contracture treatment with a dynamic non-weightbearing orthosis is to obtain an increase of ROM and so to be able to achieve fixed goals such as better gait pattern, specific daily activities, hygienic matters or personal objectives with minor inconveniences and pain. In order to use active gait orthosis (AFO KAFO) in the most effective way, PROM in ankle and knee are required. Prevention and treating contractures are therefore very needed

Method or What you did?

The included persons with contractures, 2 male and 2 female adults, on which the dynamic joints were applied have neurological and orthopaedic knee and ankle contractures. A flat coil spring gives the requested linear force onto the joints to work following LLPS-principles. Each orthosis is custom made, designed following the need and is fitted at first without force to check comfort and to achieve the correct wearing time. AROM and PROM in knee and/or ankle were measured with a standard goniometer in the beginning of the treatment and weekly after delivery of the orthosis to check the progress. The force has only been increased if there was no improvement in ROM. The necessity of PROM in the ankle has been shown very needed to avoid compensation during gait and in order to decide for the right AFO or KAFO to walk as efficient as possible.

Results or Outcomes:

In a treating time of two months (wearing time 6 to 8 hours a day, minimum 5 days a week, force following evolution up to approximately 3.5 Nm) we could measure a gain of end range of passive knee extension up to 14°, which is a considerable improvement. This method was used complementary to the manual therapy (High Load Brief Stretch) that the patients already had before starting the LLPS treatment.

Conclusions or Practice Implications:

The dynamic contracture treatment following LLPS can be an effective and painless way of treating correctable contractures if the wearing time, the compliance, the comfortable orthotic design and accurate follow-up has been set up. The increasement in PROM in ankle and knee is the key to obtain a correct and most adapted orthotic solution.


Flora is passionate about the combination of technical orthopaedics and physical therapy. Graduated as a CPO, she continued studying Physical. After many years of working as a CPO, she works now as a specialist in Neuro-Orthotics by Basko Healthcare providing clinical and technical support during assessment, technical implementation and rehabilitation.

The QUEST to stay AT Home: Making changes that count and measuring outcomes that matter

Jessica Moller1, Rebecca McKay1
Gippsland Lakes Complete Health1


Background or Problem/ Issue:

Our community health occupational therapy (OT) team use a variety of outcome measures in daily practice which have not been routinely collected, collated or examined a meaningful way. With the increasing pressures from funding bodies for OT decision-making to be “reasonable, necessary and cost-effective” there was an unmet need for therapists to collate data to develop a more nuanced understanding of aspects of assistive technology (AT) devices and services that influence client satisfaction and uptake of devices. Therapists were also keen to know what elements of their service delivery was valued by clients and what areas needed to improve, with the overall goal of improving client care and reducing AT underutilisation or abandonment.

Method or What you did?

This quality improvement activity introduced routine post-intervention outcome measurement into OT community health clinical practice in two key areas of service provision, assistive technology and home modification practice.

Two tools were selected and implemented for OT post-intervention outcome measurement, The Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with Technology (QUEST 2.0) and/or the Post Home Modification Satisfaction Survey (Aplin et al.,)

OTs now routinely collect these outcome measures at conclusion of episodes of care and results are collated to share common themes and address client feedback.

Results or Outcomes:

Implementation of formal outcome measurement as part of routine care has enabled consistent feedback/themes to be identified which was previously only gathered informally. Formal collation of data enables clinicians to review outcomes and address these for future clients therein improving processes of care.

As a result of introducing routine formal outcome measurement,

  • New patient information handouts in Easy English were developed to provide more simple information on the home modification process
  • Demonstration kits are now taken on home visits to support client input in choices on aesthetics, trial of non-slip textures and grab rail diameter etc for minor home modifications.
  • Client satisfaction with assistive technology is now measured and quantified. The 3 key themes that influence of clients satisfaction with their assistive technology device and services received will be presented.
  • Data is typically reviewed at 6-monthly intervals by senior OTs and changes made to processes where frequent themes present, to inform an ongoing quality cycle.

Conclusions or Practice Implications:

As OTs we understand from research and practice that provision of high-quality assistive technology devices and services can improve clients safety and well-being. Introducing routine outcome measurement into clinical practice enables us to better delineate what matters to our clients, this then supports continual quality improvement and results in better care and AT outcomes for our rural community.


Jess is an Occupational Therapist who has been working in public community health settings in Victoria for the past 7 years.

Rebecca is a new-graduate Occupational Therapist who is in her first year of community health practice in rural Victoria.

Grab and Go: Redesigning a service delivery model for community-based minor home modification practice

Ainsleigh Whelan1, Jessica Moller1
Gippsland Lakes Complete Health1


Background or Problem/ Issue:

Home modifications adapt the home environment to enable individuals to function with maximum independence (Law et al., 1997). Minor home modifications are defined as simple non-structural changes to a home such as installing grab rails in the shower and toilet, installing a hand-held shower, and removal of mats which can cause trip hazards.

People with a disability and/or people who are aging often require home modifications to improve their safety, enable independence and for support services to be provided in their homes. Occupational Therapists (OTs) play a key role in designing modifications and delivering home modification services via government schemes. There are significant workforce shortages in Rural Health settings that confound access and reduce the availability of OT services.

In a rural area ensuring that services are efficient and available is important as waitlists cannot close, and minor home modifications services needed to improve efficiency to meet the needs of the ageing community.

Allied Health Assistant delegation models of practice are used to ensure clinician efficiency, and this workforce redesign project focussed on introducing AHA support for minor home modification processes.

Method or What you did?

This workforce redesign project is influenced by the Specific and Timely Appointment for Triage (STAT) model Developed by Eastern Health in partnership with LaTrobe University and DHHS (Harding et al. 2018).

The community OT diaries have been redesigned to have a designated home visiting day for minor home modifications which was termed “rails clinic”.

Clients received an initial telephone screening appointment prior to receiving face-to-face home visits. If a client was identified through this screening as requiring minor modifications only, they were placed into the “rails clinic”. Appointments in the clinic are brief between 60-90 minutes and limited to a maximum of 4 clients each day to enable sufficient time for documentation of clinical notes and travel.

A clinician is allocated to this clinic each week covering a different geographical area.

An AHA directly supports the OT, whereby they prepare the related administration  from the office, whilst the OT is at the clients homes. Communication is via remote technologies for direct sharing of photographs and measurements taken during the visit.

Results or Outcomes:

This clinic clustering model enables a greater volume of clients to be serviced for a similar assistive technology sub-type, with flow-on benefits for clinicians and clients.

This service model has been operational for 6 months with post home modification survey outcome data to be presented from clients who received this service.

Qualitative feedback from therapists delivering the “rails clinic” will also be presented.

Conclusions or Practice Implications:

Implementing a minor home modification “clinic” model improved client flow through the OT community home visiting service. Clients were grouped into geographical location which improved therapist efficiency and reduced travel time. Allied Health Assistant training and delegation in basic concept drawing reduced paperwork burden on clinicians, thereby supporting more clients to have timely access to an occupational therapy service.


Ainsleigh is the Senior lead Occupational Therapist at Gippsland Lakes Complete Health. Ainsleigh has broad experience and enjoys redesigning services to improve client care.

Jess is an Occupational Therapist who has been working in public community health settings in Victoria for the past 7 years.

Healthy Eating in the Workplace Partnership East Gippsland

Chelsea Arceri1
Gippsland Lakes Complete Health1


Background or Problem/ Issue:

54% of East Gippsland are overweight or obese, 19% are consuming sugary drinks each day and 48% are not meeting their recommended serves of fruit and vegetables. Transforming workplaces into supportive environments via healthy eating interventions are understood to be an effective means of improving the health of employees and their families. They are known to positive influence body weight, reduce intake of food and drink high in fat and sugar as well as increase intake of fruits and vegetables. The “Healthy Eating Workplace Partnership” (HEWP) is a place-based approach to increasing healthy eating practice within workplace settings.

Method or What you did?

We collaborated with 7 large organisations, with a total of 840 employees within East Gippsland to form the HEWP. Via a representative from each organisation we assessed the food and drink culture of each workplace in comparison to the Healthy Eating Advisory’s Healthy Choices Guidelines for Workplaces. Key priority areas were identified to tailor outcomes to support the individual needs of the organisations to achieve a healthy food and drink environment. This was accomplished via the ‘Eat Well in the Workplace Guide’, Healthy Snack Box Workshops, and collaboration with local caterers.

Results or Outcomes:

The Key Priority Areas identified were; Healthy Catering – (External and Internal), Healthy Fundraising, Visual Guides and Posters and Educate Staff on Healthy Eating

The “Eat Well in the Workplace Guide” was developed to address the KPA’s and build capacity in workplaces to establish healthy food and drink culture. The guide includes resources such as ‘Healthy Fundraising Ideas’, ‘DIY Healthy Morning Teas’, ‘Healthy Food and Drink Policy Template’ and more.

The guide also contains 15 healthy corporate catering menus from across the region. Caterers from Bairnsdale, to Mallacoota were individually contacted and assisted to develop corporate catering menus which complied with the Healthy Choices Guidelines.

Additionally, Healthy Snack Box workshops were held at two of the HEWP organisations. These dietitian-led workshops aimed to educate staff about the importance of healthy snacking and provided examples of healthy snack options.

Conclusions or Practice Implications:

The project has made great steps towards achieving autonomy between East Gippsland’s workplace food and drink culture and the Victorian Governments’ Healthy Eating Advisory Service’s ‘Healthy Choices Guidelines for Workplaces’. By directly educating over 840 employees, we have potentially influenced the food and drink choices of over 3,300 residents of East Gippsland. Further, the ‘Eat Well in the Workplace’ guide is now available for all organisations across East Gippsland, expanding our reach and impact exponentially.


Chelsea Arceri is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Health Promotion Officer at Gippsland Lakes Complete Health. She believes strongly in the social model of health and enjoys tackling complex health issues both in the clinic and via up-stream, preventative approaches.


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