Mechanisms to enhance the effectiveness of allied health and social care assistants in community-based rehabilitation services: a qualitative study.

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Health & social care in the community, ISSN: 1365-2524, Vol: 23, Issue: 4, Page: 389-98

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Moran, Anna; Nancarrow, Susan A; Enderby, Pamela
Social Sciences; Medicine; aged care; allied health; assistant; community rehabilitation; enablement; interprofessional; reablement; social care; Medicine and Health Sciences
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This research aims to describe the factors associated with successful employment of allied health and social care assistants in community-based rehabilitation services (CBRS) in England. The research involved the thematic analysis of interviews and focus groups with 153 professionally qualified and assistant staff from 11 older people's interdisciplinary community rehabilitation teams. Data were collected between November 2006 and December 2008. Assistants were perceived as a focal point for care delivery and conduits for enabling a service to achieve goals within interdisciplinary team structures. Nine mechanisms were identified that promoted the successful employment of assistants: (i) Multidisciplinary team input into assistant training and support; (ii) Ensuring the timely assessment of clients by qualified staff; (iii) Establishing clear communication structures between qualified and assistant staff; (iv) Co-location of teams to promote communication and skill sharing; (v) Removing barriers that prevent staff working to their full scope of practice; (vi) Facilitating role flexibility of assistants, while upholding the principles of reablement; (vii) Allowing sufficient time for client-staff interaction; (viii) Ensuring an appropriate ratio of assistant to qualified staff to enable sufficient training and supervision of assistants; and (ix) Appropriately, resourcing the role for training and reimbursement to reflect responsibility. We conclude that upholding these mechanisms may help to optimise the efficiency and productivity of assistant and professionally qualified staff in CBRS.