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Community care workers Rebecca Hickman, Michael Toms and Dianne Buttle

Allied Health Assistant innovation for community care program

News Article Date: 
Monday, 1 June 2015

Warrnambool City Council (WCC) is leading the way in the innovative use of Allied Health Assistants (AHAs) to help vulnerable members of the community maintain their independence for longer.

Council received a grant from the Department of Health & Human Services to allow three community care workers to complete Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance at South West TAFE with the trio also completing work placement with an Occupational Therapist at South West Healthcare.

Community care workers Rebecca Hickman, Michael Toms and Dianne Buttle are now trained to undertake service reviews of Home and Community Care (HACC) clients to make sure they are aware of all relevant services available as well as ensuring they are receiving an appropriate level of assistance.

Rebecca, Michael and Dianne work as part of the HACC Services team under the supervision and guidance of the Assessment Officers.

The HACC program helps over 1000 people in Warrnambool each year remain independent in their homes and support carers in their role, and is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments.

Volunteers deliver about 20,000 meals while community care workers provided over 11,000 hours of domestic assistance, 2000 hours of carer respite and over 3000 hours of personal care assistance.

Ms Hickman said that the additional training has expanded her knowledge and value added to her role.

“I think this whole experience has allowed us to give our clients more information and more support to allow them the independence to stay in their own home.

“Our community care role has helped with our assessing because we understand what is happening in people’s homes and we are aware of the sometimes subtle changes in clients and their environment.”

One of the biggest advantages of utilising AHAs is the reduction in time between client reviews.

“In the age group that we mostly service, things can change very quickly,” Ms Hickman said.

“A client’s health can deteriorate, but alternatively, someone might come onto the service that has broken their hip, but 12 months later they don’t need that level of service anymore.”

For more information on HACC services visit www.warrnambool.vic.gov.au, call Council on 5559 4800 or visit the Archie Graham Centre at 118 Timor St.

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