Trans-disciplinary advanced allied health practitioners for acute hospital inpatients: a feasibility study

Dina Watterson, Kerrie Walter, Lisa O'Brien, Desiree Terrill, Kathleen Philip, Indi Swan, Lisa Somerville

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Objective To explore cost-efficiency, safety and acceptability of trans-disciplinary advanced allied health (AH) practitioners for acute adult general medicine inpatients. Design Quasi-experimental feasibility study. Setting Three acute general medical units in an Australian urban hospital. Participants Two hundred and fifty-six acute hospital inpatients. Main Outcome Measures Cost-efficiency measures included AH service utilization and length of stay (LOS). Patient outcomes were functional independence, discharge destination, adverse events, unplanned admissions within 28 days, patient satisfaction and quality of life data on admission, and 30 days post-discharge. Ward staff were surveyed regarding satisfaction with the service model, and advanced health practitioners (AHPs) rated their confidence in their own ability to meet the performance standards of the role. Results Patients allocated to AHPs (n = 172) received 0.91 less hours of AH intervention (adjusted for LOS) (95% confidence intervals (CI): â '1.68 to â '0.14; P = 0.02) and had 1.76 days shorter LOS relative to expected (95%CI: 0.18-3.34; P = 0.03) compared with patients receiving standard AH (n = 84). There were no differences in patient outcomes or satisfaction. AHPs demonstrated growth in job satisfaction and skill confidence. Conclusions Trans-disciplinary advanced AH roles may be feasible and cost-efficient compared with traditional roles for acute general medical inpatients. Further development of competency frameworks is recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbermzy127
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal for Quality in Health Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • acute inpatient care
  • allied Health hospitals
  • patient outcomes/functional status/adls/iadls
  • skill sharing transdisciplinary observational data/quasi-experiments

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