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Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

Reforming allied health service provision in residential aged care to improve the rehabilitation reach: a feasibility study

Natasha Brusco A * , Christina Ekegren A , Helen Rawson B , Nicholas F. Taylor C D , Julia Morphet B , Keith Hill A , Jennifer Anderson E , Kelly Stephen E , Amelia Crabtree F G H , Pazit Levinger I , Sara L. Whittaker A , Sze-Ee Soh J , Fiona Dulfer K and Katherine Lawler D L
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Rehabilitation Ageing and Independent Living (RAIL) Research Centre, Monash University, Vic., Australia.

B Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Vic., Australia.

C Allied Health Clinical Research Office, Eastern Health, Vic., Australia.

D School of Allied Health Human Services and Sport La, Trobe University, Vic., Australia.

E murrenda Residential Aged Care, Eastern Health, Vic., Australia.

F Division of Aged Care and Rehabilitation, Monash Health, Vic., Australia.

G Monash Ageing Research Centre, School of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Vic., Australia.

H National Centre for Healthy Ageing, Monash University and Peninsula Health, Vic., Australia.

I National Ageing Research Institute, Vic., Australia.

J Department of Physiotherapy, Monash University and Rehabilitation, Ageing and Independent Living (RAIL) Research Centre, Monash University, Vic., Australia.

K Allied Health Services, Cabrini Health, Malvern, Vic., Australia.

L Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, University of Tasmania, Tas., Australia.

* Correspondence to:

Australian Health Review 48(1) 66-81
Submitted: 12 October 2023  Accepted: 3 January 2024  Published: 22 January 2024

© 2024 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing on behalf of AHHA.



My Therapy is an allied health guided, co-designed rehabilitation self-management program for residents of aged care facilities. This study aimed to determine the feasibility of implementing My Therapy in a residential aged care setting.


This observational study was conducted on a 30-bed wing, within a 90-bed metropolitan residential aged care facility, attached to a public health service, in Victoria, Australia. Staff and resident data were collected prospectively over 6 weeks (staff focus groups, patient surveys, and audits) to evaluate the feasibility domains of acceptability, reach and demand, practicality, integration, limited efficacy testing and adaptations.


Twenty-six residents and five allied health staff (physiotherapy and occupational therapy) participated. My Therapy was acceptable to residents (survey) and staff (focus groups). Via initial My Therapy discussions between the resident and the therapists, to determine goals and resident preferences, My Therapy reached 26 residents (n = 26/26, 100% program reach), with 15 residents subsequently receiving a rehabilitation program (n = 15/26, 58% program demand). The remaining 11 residents did not participate due to resident preference or safety issues (n = 11/26, 42%). Collecting physical function outcome measures for limited efficacy testing was practical, and the cost of My Therapy was AUD$6 per resident per day, suggesting financial integration may be possible. Several adaptations were required, due to limited allied health staff, complex resident goal setting and program co-design.


My Therapy has the potential to improve the rehabilitation reach of allied health services in residential aged care. While introducing this low-cost intervention is feasible, adaptations were required for successful implementation.

Keywords: aged care, allied health, co-design, empowering, physical activity, rehabilitation, residential aged care, self-management, self-practice.


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