Doing More with Less

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  • Title: Doing More with Less: Suggestions for Transdisciplinary Healthcare for Rural Populations
  • Author(s): Julaine Allan
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies
  • Keywords: Rural Health Care, Transdisciplinary Practice, Allied Health, Australia
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2324-7576 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2324-7584 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2324-7576/CGP/v13i02/25-36
  • Citation: Allan, Julaine . 2018. "Doing More with Less: Suggestions for Transdisciplinary Healthcare for Rural Populations." The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies 13 (2): 25-36. doi:10.18848/2324-7576/CGP/v13i02/25-36.
  • Extent: 12 pages

Abstract

Small populations in isolated places have problems accessing healthcare. The reasons for this are well-explained. However, Australia has rarely considered a transdisciplinary approach, preferring to stay within the existing professional boundaries of education and practice. As the Australian government continues to relinquish its role as a direct service provider, a true transdisciplinary model is required. This article proposes highly trained, experienced allied health workers fulfil the roles of several professions. Implementation of a transdisciplinary approach to allied health services requires a significant shift in policy, funding, existing service delivery structures, and education and training. However, fewer changes are required in practice. All experienced allied health workers should be able to do a holistic assessment that encompasses physical, mental, emotional, and social wellbeing. Small populations will remain reliant on outreach and visiting services travelling from regional centres because they do not have the population mass to support a range of healthcare professionals or the potential to recruit 0.2 of a speech therapist, 0.3 of a physiotherapist, and 0.5 of a social worker. To change a system reliant on unavailable specialist professionals, a transdisciplinary solution is critical. The approach needed from policy, funding bodies, and service delivery organisations is outlined, but are practitioners up to the challenge?