Allied health assistants adapting to the challenges of delivering virtual healthcare during the COVID19 pandemic

Mrs Lucy Whelan1,2, Mrs Sharon McLean1, Mrs Robyn McDonald1

1Monash Health, Clayton, Australia, 2Monash University, Clayton, Australia

Background: The onset of the COVID 19 Pandemic and the enforced changes that were implemented regarding the delivery of face to face care in the community setting led to the implementation of virtual health care.

Aim: The up skilling of the Allied health assistant (AHA) workforce to support the implementation of this innovative model of delivering therapy in unimagined circumstances.

Method: Community programs identified the role of the AHA workforce in assisting and facilitating consumer access and utilisation of virtual therapy platforms. Online learning was made available to all interested staff. AHAs received verbal and written delegation from Allied health professionals (AHP) to contact consumers who had been identified as requiring support with the use of technology.

Results: Increased consumer confidence and participation in both group and individual therapy sessions. The use of AHAs enabled Allied Health Professional clinical time to be dedicated to the delivery of therapy, not diverted to providing technology support.

“Started Telecall Physio sessions on Weds. I found the sessions great, the girls were always cheerful and encouraging and helped my rehab enormously”. Feedback provided from Consumer Feedback Form.

Conclusion: The adaptability of the AHA workforce was highlighted as integral to the successful implementation of this new model of delivering therapy in the community setting . There has been ongoing adaptation of virtual and face to face groups as the community services assume a COVID normal state.


Sharon McLean is an experienced Allied health assistant currently working in a community rehabilitation setting leading student supervision and peer supervision in her program. Sharon recently completed a Certificate IV Training and Assessment and undertakes some sessional teaching to AHA students studying the Cert IV Allied health assistance. Sharon is also a part of the Project Team designing the Victorian AHA Workforce Plan.

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