Registered NDIS provider
How it works – Allied Health Professionals2022-03-17T10:27:07+11:00

How it works

How it works

How it works

How it works for allied health professionals

Ally Assist makes it easy for people with disabilities and their care teams to find and work with allied health assistants. Find out why we do it and how the process works.

Last updated December 29th 2021

Child playing

What does Ally Assist do?

We provide allied health assistants for your clients.

Working alongside an allied health assistant has a multitude of benefits for your clients, their family and for you. But it can be hard to find someone who is a suitable match for your client, and has all the right paperwork.

Ally Assist aims to make this process easier for allied health professionals.

We ensure our allied health assistants are suitably qualified, have the required checks and are matched to your clients’ needs and preferences.

Our allied health assistants are our employees. We manage all of their payroll, tax and superannuation – the boring stuff – so you don’t have to.

We find allied health assistants that live close to your clients to reduce transport costs.

We provide our allied health assistants with Professional Indemnity, Public Liability and Workers compensation insurance.

The only thing you need to do:

Come up with a plan and some tasks to be delegated to the allied health assistant.

Ready to begin?

Make a referral

Why involve an allied health assistant?

An allied health assistant, also known as a therapy assistant in the disability sector, supports an allied health professional by taking on a range of less complex tasks – both clinical and non-clinical. Allied health assistants work across multiple disciplines and in various care settings (e.g. hospitals, community). At Ally Assist, we provide allied health assistants specialising in:

Occupational Therapy2022-02-02T12:29:41+11:00

Below are examples of tasks that can be delegated to our allied health assistants in occupational therapy.

  • Assisting with a client’s before school routines, including personal care, and independent dressing
  • Practicing fine motor skills, in particular handwriting and usage of cutlery
  • Monitoring a client’s activities to ensure they are performing them correctly
  • Setting up resources or assistive devices for a client (e.g. checklists, visual prompts, assistive equipment)
  • Practising specific, functional tasks (e.g. accessing shopping centres, managing household tasks, meal preparation, travel training)
  • Developing a resource list of community-based groups (e.g. exercise or social groups) requested by a client

See the Victorian Department of Health’s Supervision and delegation framework for allied health assistants for further examples.

Click for a case example of AHA in occupational therapy
Speech Pathology2022-02-02T12:31:24+11:00

Below are examples of tasks that can be delegated to our allied health assistants in speech pathology.

  • Recording a language sample as directed by a speech pathologist
  • Working through a literacy program to support development of phonemic skills and reading
  • Supporting a child with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) by doing ‘drills’ of speech sound production
  • Pre-teaching classroom activities by reading a chapter of a novel with the child, identifying unfamiliar vocabulary, discussing the meaning of these words and formulating sentences
  • Practising semantic language tasks with a person with aphasia by targeting specific speech and/or language structures
  • Helping a person to practise using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), supporting community access and developing confidence with unfamiliar communication partners
  • Supporting a picky eater by introducing a variety of food textures and colours through food play

See Speech Pathology Australia’s AHA Feature for further examples.

Click for a case example of AHA in speech pathology
Physiotherapy2022-02-02T12:34:12+11:00

Below are examples of tasks that can be delegated to our allied health assistants in physiotherapy.

  • Supporting a child to play games that increase gross motor skills and coordination with their peers
  • Conducting hydrotherapy sessions to improve a client’s cardiovascular fitness
  • Supporting a client to implement exercise programs in their home or care facility
  • Identifying and managing a client’s compliance with an exercise program
  • Reporting any difficulties a client experiences with completing an exercise program
  • Assisting with a mobility and movement programs for a client unable to actively participate by monitoring posture management

See the Victorian Department of Health’s Supervision and delegation framework for allied health assistants for further examples.

Click for a case example of AHA in physiotherapy

Increase your clinical capacity

Delegating to an allied health assistant enables the allied health professional to focus on more complex clinical tasks, and provide service to a greater number of clients. Evidence shows that, with efficient delegation of tasks to allied health assistants, an allied health professional’s capacity can increase by up to 17% [1, 2].

Make your client’s budget go further

Using an allied health assistant typically means NDIS clients get 2-3 times more therapy hours for a given budget.

See pricing
Graph showing comparison in number of therapy hours when using an allied health assistant

How do we select the right assistants?

Our allied health assistants have a range of different educational backgrounds:

90%

Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy undergraduate and postgraduate students

7%

Allied Health Assistants (Completed a Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance)

1%

Graduate therapists (Completed allied health degrees but have not begun working as an AHP)

1%

Interim therapists (Received allied health qualifications overseas)

1%

Return-to-work therapists (Australian AHPs looking to re-enter the workforce)

  • NDIS Clearance (includes proof of identity check, National Police check and Disability Workers Exclusion List check)

  • Working with Children Check
  • OH&S Safety Module
  • NDIS Workers Orientation Module: Quality, Safety and You
  • Infection Control Training
  • Fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Applicants are screened based on their previous experience, performance during the interview and reference checks.

What about the matching process?
Based on your recommendations and the client’s preferences, we determine which allied health assistants from our talent pool might be appropriate for your client. We consider their field of study, areas of interest and location.
We show your client’s de-identified profile to these allied health assistants, inviting them to apply to work with the client.
From these applications, the client and their carer choose the best match for them.
The client, their carer and the allied health assistant have a complimentary Meet & Greet in person or via video-conference to decide whether to proceed.

What does the NDIS have to say?

Ally Assist is a registered NDIS provider. The NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits 2021-22 document provides information about Level 1 and Level 2 Therapy Assistants. It states the following about Level 2 Therapy Assistants:

Therapy Assistant – Level 2

Provision to a participant of a therapeutic support by an allied health assistant working under the delegation and supervision of a therapist, where the therapist is satisfied that the allied health assistant is able to work independently without direct supervision at all times.

All of our allied health assistants operate at Level 2 – i.e. they can work without direct supervision at all times. In contrast, Level 1 allied health assistants “can only deliver support under the direct supervision of a therapist”.

Where a support is delivered by a therapy assistant, the therapy assistant must be covered by the professional indemnity insurance of the supervising therapist (or the therapist’s or therapy assistant’s employing provider).

As the allied health assistants’ employer, we take care of all of their insurance, superannuation, tax and other obligations. That means you are free to focus on the clinical work.

Who’s liable? Who’s accountable?

In short Ally Assist is accountable and liable for the actions of our allied health assistants.

Ally Assist uses the Identification Model outlined in the Supervision and delegation framework for allied health assistants and the support workforce in disability to assist with transfer of tasks from an AHP to an AHA.

The process works like this:

  1. An AHP identifies tasks that can be completed by an allied health assistant
  2. The AHP gives some recommendations and information for how these tasks can be completed effectively by the AHA
  3. After this information is received, accountability for the task is transferred to the line manager, (in this case Ally Assist)

From the Supervision and delegation framework for allied health assistants and the support workforce in disability (pages 46-51)

The allied health professional is accountable for the client’s therapy plan and identification of allied health tasks that can be allocated to others. The allied health professional is accountable for:

  • Clear communication and documentation to support effective transfer of the therapy plan
  • Identifying allied health tasks in the therapy plan that an allied health assistant or disability support worker could implement with supervision from a line manager
  • Provide training for the allied health assistant or disability support worker (if required) to safely implement the task
  • Provide recommendations to the line manager, as once the therapy plan is transferred, the line manager becomes accountable and responsible for the decision to allocate the tasks to a disability support worker or assign the tasks to an allied health assistant or disability support worker. (Note: In the case of a self-managed client, the client or decision maker takes the role of the line manager.)

How do I start working with an allied health assistant?

Step 1: Make a referral

Fill out a Referral form to tell us about yourself and your client. We’ll reach out to the client or their carer to create an account so they can choose their own AHA based on your recommendations.

Make a referral
Allied health professional teaching allied health assistant to work with two young boys

Step 2: Meet with your client and the AHA

We set up a Team Meeting between the AHP (you), your client and the new AHA to discuss goals, set expectations and transfer the therapy plan. This typically occurs in person or via video-conference. The therapy plan will be documented by the AHA using a Team Meeting Form.

Step 3: Check in regularly with the AHA

The frequency of check-ins is decided at the Team Meeting, and depends on the client’s needs and the AHA’s skills. We typically recommend catching up every 3-4 weeks for 15 minutes to stay aligned on goals and therapy strategies.

What does our community say?

Ally Assist has been a life saving organisation. They are magnificent! Ally Assist are great value for money, reliable, productive and very effective. The staff are all very friendly and professional. The therapy assistants are always wanting to improve so they can deliver excellent, good quality therapy. Therapy assistants work alongside qualified allied health professionals and endeavour to keep great communication to keep up to date with my son’s goals, objectives and outcomes. Ally Assist have been very supportive towards my son’s needs and will do their all to deliver a warm, enriching and positive learning environment. I totally recommend them! Thank you for all you do Ally Assist!

Carolina Ioannidis, Parent of NDIS Participant

Overall, I’ve had a positive experience. I’ve noticed that therapy assistants are open to suggestions and like getting feedback. They tend to be more skilled than support workers and this can be hugely beneficial for families.

Tanya Relan, Speech Pathologist at Crisalida

Therapy assistants and allied health assistants are essential and invaluable members of your client’s care team. They can provide clients with greater frequency and greater visit flexibility (e.g. after hours and weekend service which most allied health professionals are unable to offer). In addition, under our supervision, they are also qualified/ required to carry out allied health professionals’ therapy plans. This working relationship also provides therapists with the opportunity to mentor therapy assistants and give back to our individual professions. Just like someone did for us.

Jane Skarratt, Speech Pathologist

Frequently asked questions

Who employs the allied health assistants?2022-02-18T11:13:21+11:00

All the allied health assistants working for Ally Assist are directly employed by Ally Assist Pty Ltd. This allows us to ensure our AHAs are covered by the appropriate insurances, and are entitled to fair wages and benefits. 

We do not hire independent contractors.

Who is accountable for the actions of the AHA?2022-02-18T11:13:21+11:00

Ally Assist is accountable for the actions of our allied health assistants. External Allied Health Professionals are not accountable for the actions of our allied health assistants. 

The only thing Allied Health Professionals need to consider when identifying tasks suitable for an allied health assistant is whether the task is suitable. You can find more information about how to determine whether a task is suitable in the Supervision and delegation framework for allied health assistants and the support workforce in disability (Pages 56 – 61)

Ally Assist also recommends the AHP documents for their own records which tasks were identified for the AHA. 

Who covers a therapy assistant’s insurance?2022-02-18T11:13:22+11:00

Ally Assist provides comprehensive insurance cover for our allied health assistants. 

Every AHA is covered by Public Liability, Professional Indemnity and Worker’s Compensation insurance. 

Are AHPs paid for their time? How does billing work between the client and AHP?2022-02-18T11:13:22+11:00

Similar to an AHPs normal client billing process, AHPs bill the client for any of their time spent planning and working with the client’s AHA.

Clients and their families have been made aware (via the Ally Assist Terms of Use) that by using an allied health assistant, they may incur extra costs from their AHP.

An AHPs billable hours in relation to working with an allied health assistant from Ally Assist can be set at the AHP’s discretion. 

To avoid any surprise costs to the client, Ally Assist encourages the AHP and client to calculate, discuss and agree to the additional estimated expenses a client may incur from the AHP for working with an allied health assistant. A new Service Agreement may need to be drafted.

To give an indication of what this looks like, although each client is different, we usually see a 10-15 minute, monthly check-in between the AHP and AHA is sufficient to stay aligned on goals and progress.

For example, if the team has decided that 15-minute check-ins will be conducted between the AHA and AHP every month, then the AHP might add the cost of 12 x 15-minute sessions to their Service Agreement for that year.

It’s important to remember that therapy plans and the client’s requirements can change as the client progresses. The ‘estimated costs’ are just a starting indication; the costs may end up being more or less than initially estimated.

How does billing work between the client and the allied health assistant?2022-02-18T11:13:22+11:00

Billing between the client and the allied health assistant is organised separately to the billing for an external AHP.

For every session between the allied health assistant and client, a session is logged via Ally Assist. This session will be invoiced to the client on a fortnightly basis.

Allied health assistant billable hours may include:

  • Regular sessions
  • Team Meeting
  • Check-ins with the client’s AHP
  • Preparation time (if permitted by the client/primary carer)

Note: The Meet & Greet is not billed to the client. Ally Assist is not involved in the client’s billing agreement with their AHP.

What is the purpose of check-ins? How often do check-ins need to occur?2022-02-18T11:13:22+11:00

Usually we see that a 10-15 minute, monthly phone call is sufficient for most clients.

Depending on the client’s needs, it can be important for therapy assistants to have a regular check-in with their client’s allied health professional to ensure that the all parties are on the same page about the therapy goals and the client’s progress

The frequency and nature of the follow ups will be determined at the Team Meeting.

How can the allied health professional monitor what happens during sessions between the client and AHA?2022-02-18T11:13:22+11:00

All therapy assistants will be required to write a field note after each session. These can be forwarded to the Allied Health Professional with permission from the client/primary carer.

In the near future, we’ll be launching new features within the online portal that will allow clients and allied health professionals to access and review these notes.

What happens if can’t organise an in-person session? Are online Team Meetings ok?2022-02-18T11:13:22+11:00

Yes, phone or video call meetings are acceptable if a virtual Team Meeting is more appropriate

Video sessions can be conducted via Zoom or your preferred software, i.e. FaceTime, WhatsApp, Hangouts, etc.

If you would like assistance setting up an online Team Meeting, let us know at info@allyassist.com.au

What happens if the AHP doesn’t believe the allied health assistant has the appropriate skills or competency2022-02-18T11:13:22+11:00

If the AHP feels the AHA does not have the experience, skills or knowledge to implement a client’s therapy plan, the following steps can occur:

  • If it’s within the client’s budget, the allied health professional can provide further training to the allied health assistant to support them with the implementation of that task.
  • The allied health professional can relay information or resources to the AHA and Ally Assist about the type of training that needs to be undertaken by the AHA to safely and effectively implement the therapy task(s).
  • Ally Assist can remove the AHA from the role and try to find a more appropriate AHA with guidance about the types of skills and knowledge that is necessary to safely and effectively implement the therapy plan.

Extra resources

Logo for Speech Pathology Australia
Logo for Speech Pathology Australia
Logo for Occupational Therapy Australia
Logo for Victoria State Government

References

1. National Disability Insurance Agency, National Disability Insurance Scheme Pricing Strategy. 2019, National Disability Insurance Agency.

2. National Rural Health Commissioner, Interim report to the minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government – Improvement of Access, Quality and Distribution of Allied Health Services in Regional, Rural and Remote Australia. 2020, Australian Government: Adelaide.

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