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Aboriginal Allied Health Assistant Project

Patches Therapy Services was a recipient of a Jobs Market Fund grant funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services, to develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Allied Health Assistant (AHA) workforce across Western Australian and the Northern Territory.

The role of an AHA is varied and has been customised to the needs of patches participants and their families. The AHA’S Work with and are trained by Allied Health Professionals to deliver therapy plans to Participants, maintain regular communication with Mentor and Allied Health team. The AHA is able to advocate for the needs and feelings of participants and their families and identify people in the local community with NDIS plans or eligibility for NDIS and refer to Patches or community connectors. 

There are community roles for the AHA also, including educating visiting therapist about the community’s history, culture and customs. Introduce visiting therapists to important people and Elders in the community. Provide a translation services between the visiting therapist and the community. Providing cultural and communication support to both the visiting therapist and their participants throughout therapy assessment and intervention.   

The project team developed a customised training package inclusive of virtual modules, a printed handbook and there is also extensive on the job training.  The virtual modules are available on a USB to enable AHA’s to stay in communities and complete training. We are collecting feedback from AHA and cultural advisors to ensure content is culturally appropriate and accessible. 

Patches completed a recruitment drive, securing six people in the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Allied Health Assistant. The project team will continue the recruitment drive aiming to employ people in remote and very remote communities. 

Patches Therapy services have AHA located in Port Hedland, Kununurra, Darwin and Broome. The AHA’s also travel to remote Aboriginal communities to provide therapy programs and liaison services with participants and their families. We are pleased to welcome our new employees, and excited about the opportunity to provide culturally appropriate and thoughtful care to all participants and their families.

The Jobs Market Fund team presented the project to the Kimberley Disability Forum 9th and 10th of November in Broome WA.  The presentation was well received by all and enabled the project team to inform community connectors, and other key stakeholders about the JMF project.  

Patches Australia are still seeking further applicants to work as Allied Health Assistants throughout Pilbara, Kimberley and NT. Contact Jen.leahy@patches-paediatrics.com.au for more details.

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