Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/97961
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Type: Journal article
Title: Allied health assistants and what they do: a systematic review of the literature
Author: Lizarondo, L.
Kumar, S.
Hyde, L.
Skidmore, D.
Citation: Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 2010; 3:143-153
Publisher: DovePress
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 1178-2390
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Lucylynn Lizarondo, Saravana Kumar, Lisa Hyde, Dawn Skidmore
Abstract: Objective: Allied health assistants (AHAs) are an emerging group in allied health practice with the potential to improve quality of care and safety of patients. This systematic review summarizes the evidence regarding the roles and responsibilities of AHAs and describes the benefits and barriers to utilizing AHAs in current health care settings. Methods: A systematic process of literature searching was undertaken. A search strategy which included a range of electronic databases was searched using key terms. Studies which examined the roles and responsibilities of AHAs (across all allied health disciplines) were included in the review. Only publications written in the English language were considered, with no restriction on publication date. Two reviewers independently assessed eligibility of the articles. Data extraction was performed by the same reviewers. A narrative summary of findings was presented. Results: Of the initial 415 papers, 10 studies were included in the review. The majority of papers reported roles performed by general health care assistants or rehabilitation assistants who work in multiple settings or are not specifically affiliated to a health discipline. All ­current AHAs duties have elements of direct patient care and indirect support via clerical and ­administrative or housekeeping tasks. Benefits from the introduction of the AHA role in health care include improved clinical outcomes, increased patient satisfaction, higher-level services, and more “free” time for allied health professionals to concentrate on patients with complex needs. ­Barriers to the use of AHAs are related to blurred role boundaries, which raises issues associated with professional status and security. Conclusions: There is consensus in the literature that AHAs make a valuable contribution to allied health care. Whilst there are clear advantages associated with the use of AHAs to support allied health service delivery, ongoing barriers to their effective use persist.
Keywords: allied health assistants; health care assistants; rehabilitation assistants; allied health workforce
Rights: © 2010 Lizarondo et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd. This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.
RMID: 0030029524
DOI: 10.2147/JMDH.S12106
Appears in Collections:Public Health publications

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