The evolution of an Allied Health Assistant role in a Gem at home Program

Mrs Lucy Whelan1,2, Ms Johanna Forsman1

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

Background: The challenge of COVID-19 alongside the increasing cost of providing inpatient care has prompted health services to explore new ways of providing care. A three month GEM at home pilot was proposed, where eight eligible patients admitted for Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) care will have their care delivered at home by a multi-disciplinary team.

Aim: Establish how the use of Allied Health Assistant (AHA) in the GEM at Home program will assist Allied Health Professionals (AHP) deliver patient-centred care and help patients reach their goals within the timeframe of the program.

Results: A midway evaluation was carried out to assess data from the pilot. At the half way mark (six weeks) twenty-two patients had been admitted and the average length of stay were 12.8 days. AHA made twenty-seven face to face contacts with an average 58 minutes spent with each patient.

The AHA is multi-disciplinary and working under delegation of five disciplines; with majority of delegations received from Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy. Formal patient feedback indicates positive outcomes to date and trial has been extended until end of financial year 2021.

Conclusions: To date, the AHA role is valued by the Gem at home clinical team and consumers alike to assist in achieving therapy goals more quickly and allowing AHP’s to focus their time on assessment and throughput.

Limitations: AHP assessment and delegation must occur early to ensure optimal utilisation of the AHA within the limited length of stay (two weeks).


Johanna is a qualified physiotherapist in Finland, and has been working as an Allied Health Assistant since arriving in Australia. For the last six years Johanna has been working for a number of different health organisations, both in the private and public sector. Johanna is passionate about providing home- based rehabilitation and loves seeing patients thrive and succeed in their own home environment.

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