Transdisciplinary stroke care: Perceptions of healthcare teams

Ms  Katherine Delany1, Dr Rachelle Pitt1, Mrs Kristy  Perkins1, Ms Rachel Phillips1

1West Moreton Health, Ipswich Hospital, Australian

Background: The demand for rehabilitation and stroke services are significantly increasing as a result of the growing burden of noncommunicable disease and the ageing population. Within the Acute Stroke Unit at West Moreton implementation of an alternate model of care to manage increasing demands was undertaken. The Calderdale Framework was used to identify skill sharing opportunities in initial stroke assessment across Nursing, Social Work, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech Pathology to guide workforce redesign.  This model aimed to improve the efficiency of care for patients admitted into the Acute Stroke Unit and maximising cost effectiveness. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the benefits, challenges and barriers to implementation of the skill sharing model from the perspective of staff within the transdisciplinary team

Method: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken to evaluate the perceptions of healthcare staff 3 months post implementation of the pilot model of care. Key stakeholders in allied health and nursing management, leadership and workforce positions explored patient and healthcare team experiences to analyse the benefits, challenges, enablers and barriers to workforce re-design.

Results: Eighty eight percent of the purposive stakeholder sample participated. All interview participants concurred that transdisciplinary practice could be beneficial and should be a component of comprehensive stroke care in the future. Analysis of the qualitative responses highlight several emerging themes including the importance of workforce engagement at initiation of re-design, strong project leadership and management, the impact of external influences, professional relationships, skill sharing scope and boundaries and patient experience and safety.

Discussion:Increasing demand for acute stroke services requires the corresponding allied health model of care to be effective, efficient and sustainable. A comprehensive understanding of factors influencing the design and implementation of transdisciplinary assessment and intervention enables managers to effectively navigate service re-design and workforce reform.


Katherine Delany is an Occupational Therapist who has worked across the continuum of care within both Queensland Health and overseas. Katherine currently works within West Moreton as a Workforce Development Officer. Passionate about health and health outcomes Katherine has completed a Master’s in Public Health and in Healthcare Management.

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