Advocacy & aged care: an update for podiatrists
Given the documented workforce pressures around hiring and retaining staff, here’s a run-down on considerations – and benefits – when working with allied health assistants.
Perhaps you already hire, or work alongside, allied health assistants. Or perhaps you run a practice and are considering employing an allied health assistant but are unsure as to their scope of practice – or even how to go about recruiting for such a role. This short guide can help to get you started.
Firstly, what does an allied health assistant do?
Allied health assistants (AHAs) are trained professionals who work under the supervision of allied health professionals, such as podiatrists, to provide clinical support and assistance to patients. They work in a range of settings, including hospitals, community health centres, aged care facilities, and private practices.
Their duties can vary depending on the field and setting they work in. There is plenty more information available online, such as documentation that explores the process involved in developing an allied health workforce. This same resource also links through to a video by the Victorian Government on some do’s and don’ts when delegating to an allied health assistant.
What are some of the benefits in hiring an allied health assistant?
Benefits are detailed in Australian Podiatry Association’s (APodA) member-only resource on allied health assistants, while some additional benefits include:
- Support for routine tasks: AHAs can provide support for routine tasks, such as patient preparation, record keeping, and scheduling appointments. By taking on these tasks, podiatrists can focus their skills and expertise on more complex care.
- Assistance with basic assessments and interventions: AHAs can assist podiatrists with basic assessments and interventions, such as taking basic measurements, performing foot care treatments, and providing patient education. This support can help increase the number of patients who can receive care, thereby reducing wait times and addressing workforce shortages.
- Increased access to care in rural and remote areas: AHAs can help to increase access to care in rural and remote areas, where there may be a shortage of podiatrists and other allied health professionals. By providing basic services and support, AHAs can help to bridge the gap in care provision – and ensure that patients in these areas have access to the basic services they need.
- More facilitated teamwork and collaboration: AHAs can facilitate teamwork and collaboration among podiatrists and other allied health professionals. By working closely with other members of the health care team, AHAs can help ensure that patients receive coordinated, informed, timely and integrated care.
- Cost-effective support: AHAs can provide cost-effective support for podiatrists. By taking on routine tasks and providing basic services, AHAs can help reduce the workload of podiatrists which frees up further time for additional patient contact hours or management related administrative tasks.
The member-only resource mentioned above also details some potential barriers to be aware of before hiring an AHA.
How much should I pay an allied health assistant?
The latest remuneration information is detailed in APodA’s member-only resource on AHAs, which is regularly updated for members.
What information does the Australian Podiatry Association have on allied health assistants?
The APodA has comprehensive information for its members when it comes to hiring or working alongside an AHA. This extends to the benefits and barriers in hiring an AHA, remuneration information, the role of AHAs in the context of private sector podiatry, clinical and non clinical duties of an AHA working in a podiatry practice, relevant tertiary insights, and modes of clinical supervision that are applicable to AHAs.
Do other entities offer support in this space?
Emerging associated bodies seek to offer support for allied health assistance. If you are an APodA member and you want to get involved in related developments, reach out to APodA’s Advocacy team via firstname.lastname@example.org
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Q+A special: Patient advice from the Heart Foundation
What to expect at this year’s conference
Have you registered for our half-day Live & Local events? Find out why you should.
Live & Local events are on their way and they are not to be missed! These cost-effective education offerings are designed for podiatrists who work across the public, community, private and academic sectors.
Carefully curated, these half-day sessions take podiatrists through a range of clinical presentations and demonstrations to unlock fresh opportunities for skills development.
Perth is where it’s at
Based near Perth? Here’s what you can expect at the Live & Local in Perth, proudly sponsored by Restorate, and taking place on 12 May at the University of Western Australia.
Deeply practical, this series of presentations cover different clinical areas such as high risk pathologies, fluoroscopy, laser case studies and related demonstrations.
Dan Miles, head of advocacy at the APodA, will also be there to discuss advocacy issues and associated points for action. Tours of the surgical suites offer another highlight and once all of that has taken place, it’s time for canapes and networking opportunities! Be involved in this face-to-face CPD opportunity – at this not-to-be-missed local event.
Near Adelaide? Then the Live & Local is taking place on 26 May at the University of South Australia.
This event kicks off with a discussion, led by leaders in the podiatry profession, on the role of a vascular assessment and its place in the future of podiatry. Other topics include a reflection by Dr Helen Banwell on how podiatry students were taught during Covid – accompanied by a forecast on teaching hands-on skills into the future. Co-care relationships are also examined, with guidance provided on when to hold patients and when to send them in for further medical intervention. There is also a live ulcer debriding showcase as this jam-packed day event draws to a close, before the location switches to Sportitude Running. This is where the pace slows down for some networking and overdue face-to-face time, a relative rarity since Covid began. The event sponsors, Sportitude, are also providing four free pairs of shoes as lucky door prizes at this add-on networking event, which starts at 4:30pm. Not only this, but Sportitude are also offering 30% off RRP to all in attendance.
Not based in either of these locations? The good news is that we have more Live & Local events happening in the second half of 2023 – with Rockhampton already confirmed, and potential locations slated in NSW, ACT and Victoria.
Over to you
Keep checking the website for further updates on future Live & Local locations. And don’t forget to book in for Live & Locals in Perth or Adelaide before it’s too late.
See you at a Live & Local soon!
Are you an APodA member? Then you’ll want to look at this month’s question of the month which answers the latest question:
When we are sending letters to GPs or health professionals regarding patients, are we able to send in an email, or do we have to use fax/letter?
Once you have clicked on the above link, then scroll down through the catalogue of past questions to find the answer to this question (it’s at the bottom of the growing list!).
These monthly questions are compiled by our member services team who take multiple calls, five days a week, to ensure accurate information is being given to our members when it comes to complex queries such as:
- Whether a patient can access clinical notes
- What required documents need to be legally sent back to a patient’s doctor after a first visit
- Whether it’s necessary to complete a service agreement for a self managed NDIS participant.
All of these questions are answered here – and answered via APodA’s regular member-only emails.
Understanding employment contracts
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