An exploration of the perceptions of Allied Health Professionals on their roles within residential aged care



Aim and Background: The Allied Health Professional (AHP) plays an important role in ongoing care within residential aged care facilities. Information about how AHP roles align with best practice principles will allow aged care providers to evaluate how they can maintain standards while increasing efficiency of care. This study aimed to explore the perceptions held by AHPs on their roles within aged care facilities to analyse how they see their duties aligning with their disciplinary role and scope. Design and Methods: A voluntary sample of 10 AHPs (6 Physiotherapists and 4 Occupational Therapists) from a target population of 20 AHPs from the same aged care organisation participated within a multi-method two stage qualitative design. Descriptive statistics, content analysis, and thematic analysis were used to analyse collected data. Results/Findings: Three major themes emerged: systematic and contextual tensions; scope of practice and care; enablement model and person-centred care. Participants agreed upon the importance of multi-disciplinary team structure and provided detail about how this applies in falls prevention and management. Participants suggested a dilemma between implementing best practice and performing interventions that allowed efficient use of time and resources as per funding models. Participants noted some limit in their scope of role due to current funding and time restrictions. Application and Conclusion: There appeared to be considerable untapped potential for increase in scope and specificity of AHP roles within residential aged care. Further research is required to understand the implications of implementing best practice under funding and time restrictions, as well as how the distribution of funding in aged care could support a wider range of allied health disciplines.