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11.4 Types of Rehabilitation Service Providers
Section 11.1 and section 11.2 of this chapter confirm that rehabilitation providers undertaking rehabilitation assessments and delivering rehabilitation programs must meet all of DVA’s accreditation requirements. However, where providers are employed by a DVA accredited rehabilitation provider to only deliver specific components of a rehabilitation program or undertake specific assessments for specific purposes, this requirement does not apply.
For example, some rehabilitation providers specialise in job placement. They have extensive employer networks and are skilled in cold canvassing employers for placements and in coordinating a program directed at job search activities. Where the DVA accredited rehabilitation provider is not skilled in job placement it may be possible to acquire these services through a specialist recruitment agency. This will generally be a third party activity on a rehabilitation program with the overall plan still managed by a DVA accredited rehabilitation provider.
Likewise, if a client has lodged a claim for household services, and a referral is made to an Occupational Therapist for a home/activities of daily living assessment, the Occupational Therapist does not need to meet all of the DVA accreditation requirements. They do however, need to be Comcare accredited and have the relevant skills and experience to assess the client’s requirement for household services.
There are a variety of rehabilitation service providers who can all contribute to a successful rehabilitation plan outcome.
Occupational Therapists have expertise in matching a client's physical capabilities to work situations. They also provide physical rehabilitation programs. These providers may also be most suited to managing a medical rehabilitation program. Occupational Therapists are commonly used to conduct activities of daily living assessments in a client's home for the purpose of assessing household and attendant care services. They also conduct functional capacity evaluations, undertake worksite assessments and can coordinate return to work programs.
Some Physiotherapists work as Rehabilitation Consultants and perform a similar range of functions to those undertaken by Occupational Therapists. They also have additional skills in assessing treatment options and needs.
Exercise Physiologists specialise in managing physical rehabilitation programs where the client needs to improve their physical capability following an injury. Exercise Physiologists may also be suited to managing a medical rehabilitation program where the emphasis is on gym work, physical exercise, hydrotherapy, massage and obtaining appropriate medical clearances.
Psychologists may be best placed to manage a medical rehabilitation program where the client has a psychological illness.
Social Workers may also be suitable to assist a person with a psychological illness. A Social Worker may also be ideally suited to managing a psychosocial rehabilitation program where the focus is on reintegrating the client with the community.
Rehabilitation Counsellors have generally undertaken a specific post-graduate course of study in rehabilitation. Rehabilitation Counsellors/Consultants come from a variety of academic backgrounds which provide them with particular expertise to manage different client circumstances. Their academic training provides them with generalist skills to manage rehabilitation programs incorporating a client's whole of person medical, psychosocial and vocational needs.
Health and Allied Health Service Providers
Health and Allied Health Service Providers include legally qualified and registered general practitioners, medical specialists, dentists, psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, osteopaths, podiatrist, prosthetists, orthotists chiropractors and dieticians etc.
Occupational Physicians are medical specialists trained to assess the health of workers and the interaction with their workplace and work practices. They are experts in providing return to work medical guidance. They are frequently used to conduct medical assessments for permanent impairment and the work-relatedness of a medical condition. Occupational Physicians may also conduct rehabilitation assessments.
Rehabilitation Specialists are medical specialists who specialise in restoring functional ability and quality of life in patients with physical disabilities. They specialise in treating people with serious physical disabilities. They commonly treat people with spinal cord injury, stroke, acquired brain injury and amputees.
Training Providers include educational institutions or individual training providers accredited at the state or national levels. They may provide short-term vocational training, or training at the Certificate 1 level through to the post-graduate level, within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
Support Service Providers
Support Service Providers include agencies or individuals who can provide:
- services that assist in job preparation skilling or job placement for people seeking employment;
- services of a domestic nature (cooking, house cleaning, laundry and gardening services) for the proper running and maintenance of the client's household;
- services other than household services, medical or surgical services or nursing care, that are required for the essential and regular care of the client; and
- services which assist in altering a client's place of residence, work or training or who provide rehabilitation aids and appliances.
This is not an exclusive list but indicative of the types of service that can assist in the overall rehabilitation process.