Development and implementation of the Basic Assessment Model to address long waiting lists in Occupational Therapy at Latrobe Community Health Service

Alyssa Mills1, Alice Davey1, Erin DiCorleto1, Georgia McDonald1, Laura Telling1
Latrobe Community Health Service1



The Basic Assessment Model (BAM) was developed by the occupational therapy team at Latrobe Community Health Service (LCHS) to address high demand and an increasing waitlist. The occupational therapy team at LCHS receives between 40 and 70 referrals per month, (on average 60 in 2017, 55 in 2018 and 54 in 2019). Prior to the implementation of BAM, the waitlist was increasing; reaching 196 in early 2018. To manage the increasing demand, the BAM was developed.


An Occupational Therapist screens all referrals and, using inclusion/exclusion criteria, deems a client suitable for a BAM assessment. Allied Health Assistants conduct first section of the BAM with clients over the phone prior to an Occupational Therapist completing an initial assessment. Following the screen, the Occupational Therapist can complete their assessment in a shorter period of time, allowing assessment of more clients on one day.


Since the implementation of BAM, the occupational therapy team has seen a decrease in the waitlist and a significant decrease in the time clients were waiting for services. Average wait times were reduced by 26 days (25%). The reduction in waitlist time was achieved by using the existing numbers of staff;. It was found that the demand could be met even when staffing levels were low (such as leave or staff turnover) and while new staff were in supernumerary positions. EFT between pre and post data was reduced by 27%, however an additional two clients were seen each month. A quantitative study was completed and this model was found to have a statistically significant result in reducing the time a client spends on the wait list for occupational therapy services.


This model was shown to reduce the wait times for occupational therapy clients in a regional community-based health service in Victoria. Other services with a long wait time for community-based occupational therapy may benefit from implementing a similar model.


Laura completed her degree in Occupational Therapy in 2009 and who has since worked in Latrobe Valley and Wellington shire areas. Laura currently works in the adults Occupational Therapy team at Latrobe Community Health Service providing community based services to people in Latrobe Valley.

Alyssa completed her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) degree at Monash University in 2015. Alyssa secured a new graduate position at LCHS in early 2016 and has since developed her skills in the community setting working with a range of clients including clients with neurological conditions and palliative diagnosis.

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