Pinery bush fires: Allied health workforce response

Tanja Klotz1, Brad Schmitt2, Chris MacFarlane3, Kathryn Heath4

1 Occupational Therapist, Adult Burns Service, North Tce, Adelaide, SA, 5000, Tanja.Klotz@sa.gov.au
2 Physiotherapist, Adult Burns Service, North Tce, Adelaide, SA, 5000, Brad.Schmitt@sa.gov.au
3 Allied Health Project Manager, Adult Burns Service, North Tce, Adelaide, SA, 5000, Chris.MacFarlane@sa.gov.au
4 Allied Health Project Manager, Adult Burns Service, North Tce, Adelaide, SA, 5000, Kathryn.Heath@sa.gov.au

On the 25th of November 2015 the Pinery bushfire, just 80 kilometres North of Adelaide in South Australia wreaked devastation in winds of up to 100km/hr.  Two people were killed, 13 people injured, 91 homes destroyed, and over 85,000ha of land spanning east into the Barossa Valley was burnt resulting in significant loss of livestock, infrastructure and livelihoods. Five patients with severe burns (>20%TBSA) were admitted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital Burns Service posing a significant allied health staffing challenge.

The addition of an allied health assistant to the burns team as a short term workforce strategy provided an extremely valuable contribution to the overall therapy management of a large number of burn survivor inpatients. The allied health assistant worked closely with the physiotherapy and occupational therapy staff.

This poster will describe the allied health staffing response (76 occasions of service, with over 52 hours of direct patient contact) in the first 5 weeks following the fires. The utilisation and benefits of an allied health assistant is summarised and the long term consideration as a cost effective, permanent member of the multidisciplinary burns team.

Key Words

Allied Health Workforce

Biography

I have worked in burns since January 2003. In that time I have been involved with the ANZBA Allied Health group and have presented a number of times at ANZBA conferences and at ISBI 2 years ago. I have over the last few years been complementing my practice in burns by working the other half of the week in hand therapy at Royal Adelaide Hospital. Currently though I am expanding my knowledge by undertaking a Masters in Clinical Science with Uni of Adelaide & JBI.

About ANZBA

ANZBA is a not for profit organisation and the peak body for health professionals responsible for the care of the burn injured in Australia and New Zealand. ANZBA encourages higher standards of care through education, performance monitoring and research.

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Photo Credits: Tourism Tasmania, Adam Gibson, Sarajayne Lada, Julia Smith, The Henry Jones

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