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21st January 2021 Latest News

Boost For Allied Health Sector

Allied Health

Eight new grants announced for allied health professionals.

Improving the delivery of care for people suffering from mental illness, stroke, dementia and more will be the focus of eight new allied health grants being provided by The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group and the University of South Australia (UniSA).

The projects, worth more than $200,000, will help patients across South Australia who are seen by allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, dieticians, speech pathologists, podiatrists and more.

THRF Group CEO Paul Flynn said the funding would help reduce waiting lists, improve telehealth services and provide a more efficient and high quality healthcare service for the community.

“Allied health practitioners often offer a very personalised treatment plan for patients across a range of disciplines, helping ease the pain associated with many different ailments,” Paul said.

“We’re proud to help improve the quality of life for all South Australians through co-funding these grants, allowing our specialists to implement new models of care or conduct research to enhance treatments.”

The grants are linked to teams at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre, Glenside Health Services, Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre and regional aged care facilities.

UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise Prof Marnie Hughes-Warrington said that UniSA was committed to research that partners closely with industry to ensure best possible outcomes for the community.

“UniSA Allied Health training programs are highly regarded, in large part because the academic staff are so engaged in best practice research with their clinical colleagues and with people with lived experience of chronic conditions, and in turn promote research findings in their under- and post-graduate teaching,” Prof Hughes-Warrington said.

“We’re very pleased to partner with THRF Group on this initiative that will lead to tangible outcomes for so many South Australians.”

The eight successful projects include:

  • Suzanne Dawson, Senior Occupational Therapist

Mental health: Analyse the process of developing care plans for people living with mental illness, ensuring the plans are collaborative, personalised and recovery focused


  • Dan Donaghey, Senior Manager in Mental Health

Dementia: Evaluate the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary Rapid In-reach Service for people with dementia in rural residential aged care facilities

Regional aged care facilities

  • Duncan Lodge, Senior Outpatient Physiotherapist

Brain surgery: Identify opportunities to redesign the model of care for patients needing non-urgent neurosurgery to reduce waiting lists and better utilise the link between GPs, outpatient services and hospital

Flinders Medical Centre

  • Dr Brenton Hordacre, NHMRC Research Fellow, UniSA

Stroke: Introduce and evaluate a new tool to predict the potential recovery of people who suffer a stroke and help specialists provide the best treatment for patients

RAH / Hampstead

  • Kristin Graham, Academic in Podiatry, UniSA

Diabetes: Assess the delivery of telehealth services for people with diabetes-related foot complications in rural and remote areas


  • Samantha Plush, Clinical Dietician 

Gastroenterology: Review and restructure the referral process for Gastroenterology and Colorectal Surgical services and integrate a dietician-led clinic to reduce wait times and improve patient outcomes


  • Mark Jarrett, Senior Physiotherapist 

Spinal injuries: A review of the telehealth physiotherapy services offered to people needing a non-trauma related spinal assessment to reduce waiting lists and improve research knowledge


  • Dianna Burchell, Senior Speech Pathologist 

Dysphagia: Test the effectiveness of a new skill-based swallowing therapy for people with dysphagia, a condition where swallowing is difficult and the choking risk is high