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A description and evaluation of an innovative rural rehabilitation programme in South Eastern Australia
journal contributionposted on 06.08.2018, 00:00 by B Dow, Kirsten MooreKirsten Moore, JM Dunbar, J Nankervis, Susan HuntSusan Hunt
Purpose. To describe and evaluate the effectiveness of an innovative model of rehabilitation designed to meet the needs of a sparsely populated rural area in South Eastern Australia. Method. Five rural health services collaborated to establish a rehabilitation programme. Evaluation included comparing length of stay (LOS) and improvement in the Modified Barthel Index (BI) with the Victorian State average for Level 2 (nonspecialist) rehabilitation. Surveys were conducted with staff, clients and carers in the programme. Results. An inpatient rehabilitation programme was successfully established through cooperation between five health services. Clients admitted to the programme improved functionally at least as well as the Victorian State average for similar client groups (BI change 26.5 compared with 22.3 points, p50.001), with a shorter LOS (13.8 compared with 22.3 days) but more were discharged to residential aged care (16.1% compared with 6%). Conclusions. The programme was successful in meeting its stated aims. The model described could be adopted in rural areas sharing similar characteristics. Key enablers to the success of the programme included: collaboration between hospitals; a skilled and enthusiastic leader; recruitment of allied health staff; consistent medical leadership; access to training and support from a major regional rehabilitation centre; and access to funding to enable the programme to establish itself and demonstrate outcomes for clients.