Research project begins for the provision of therapy services in rural and remote NSW

10 March 2010

Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn and representatives of the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home care (ADHC) today welcomed the start of a major research project into the provision of therapy services in rural and remote NSW.

The four year project is a joint enterprise between Ageing, Disability and Home Care and the University of Sydney and will focus on the effectiveness of the delivery of psychology and therapy services to people with disabilities living in rural and remote NSW.

Prof Craig Veitch
Prof Craig Veitch

"The project will be managed by Professor Craig Veitch of Community Based Health Care at Sydney University and ADHC's Western Region Director, Scott Griffiths and his staff," Professor Llewellyn said.

The project focuses on three areas of therapy provided by ADHC in the Western Region - speech, occupational and physiotherapy, and psychology. Researchers will cooperate with clinicians who are working with people with disabilities in the Western Region.

The NSW Minister for Disability Services Paul Lynch is also very supportive of the partnership. "Given the lack of research in this particular area, there is little doubt the project will provide a new set of information which will assist in the formulation of policy, future education of psychology and therapy students, as well as how they will deliver services in rural and remote communities," he said.

The Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney, Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn, said the project is vital to the ongoing development of services for people with disabilities.

The four year project has attracted funding of $800,000 from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Professor Llewellyn said the significant funding by the NHMRC was the result of extensive hard work undertaken by Professor Craig Veitch and colleagues Professor Anita Bundy, Associate Professor Michelle Lincoln and Giselle Gallego in conjunction with Scott Griffiths and his staff.

Professor Veitch said the project had been named the "Wobbly Hub and Spokes Model" based on the fact that current services tended to be delivered by clinicians based in larger regional centres, such as Dubbo and Orange, who regularly travelled to the smaller communities scattered throughout the Region to see their clients, who numbered well in excess of 500.

"This model is very different to how clinical services are provided in places such as Sydney, therefore the workers have had to modify how they undertake assessments and therapy sessions, based on a visiting service model."

The first steps in the project will be to recruit staff and begin a review of current practices locally and overseas.

Professor Llewellyn launches the project this morning at Ageing, Disability and Home Care Regional Office, Dubbo.

Contact: Michelle Cario

Phone: 9036 7486 | 0402 389 889