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Rehabilitation Counselling
Association of Australasia

Student News (page 2)

Recent Student Abstracts

Employability Assessment in Total and Permanent Disability Claims

Margaret Black*, Lynda R. Matthews, and Michael J. Millington
Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney

Employability assessment (EA) is increasingly relied on by insurers to help decide total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance claims. Emerging as a new model in the mid-2000s, employability assessment has not been empirically evaluated. Our study aims to examine TPD employability assessment from vocational rehabilitation, insurer, and claimant perspectives.

We are using mixed methodology to gain rehabilitation focus group data (n = 10), insurer survey data (n = 104), and claimant experience data (n = 10, incomplete). Additionally, the expert focus group generated survey items using a three-round Delphi process. Qualitative and quantitative data will be triangulated to align findings.

Results of systematic literature review and focus group analysis provide evidence of challenging features of EA, due mainly to TPD policy and case law. Future training and certification of professionals conducting forensic EAs is essential. Provisional survey results indicate that insurers find EA helps them make decisions by having a clear, realistic picture of claimant work potential. Insurers value having objective rationale for job matches, and transferable skills analysis based on claimant education, training, and experience. Feedback from potential employers about identified work options is important. More than half the insurers surveyed (56%) believe that rehabilitation counsellors are most suited to conduct EAs, whereas over one-third (38%) favour occupational therapists. Study results will be available in peer-reviewed journals prior to PhD thesis completion. We anticipate research findings will have implications for TPD rehabilitation, insurance, and claimant stakeholders alike. For more information click here.

* Contact: Margaret Black

Developing a Screening Strategy for Brain Injury and Cognitive Impairment in Sydney’s Homeless Population

Erin Fearn Smith*, Michael J. Millington, and Lynda R. Matthews
Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney

The Specialist Homelessness Service (SHS) sector in Sydney reports a significant rate of brain injury and cognitive impairment among people accessing their services, yet no mechanisms for identification of brain injury or formal measurements are currently in place. This research will investigate the prevalence of brain injury and cognitive impairment in people who are homeless in Sydney. It will also identify, adapt or design a tool to screen for brain injury and cognitive impairment in people accessing support through Sydney SHS programs.

This will be achieved through a literature review, analysis of secondary data, and workshops with provider agencies and field specialists. Once the screening strategy has been developed, a pilot study will test the psychometrics of the identified tool and its ease of implementation within SHS case management practice. The Wechsler Memory Scale IV (WMS-IV) will be used to validate the tool.

A robust screening strategy for identification of cognitive impairment and brain injury in SHS will support homelessness program service delivery by improving case management intake, referral, and planning at the micro level; improving monitoring and evaluation practices at the meso level; and inform policy at the macro level. Ultimately, it will lead to improved service systems and better outcomes for people who are experiencing homelessness.

* Contact: Erin Fearn Smith

Harm Minimisation Drug Policy Implementation with Australian Injecting Drug Users.

Danielle Resiak*, Elias Mpofu, Michael J. Millington and Rodd Rothwell
Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney

Background: National health care policies are key in outlining the vision, priorities, budgetary decisions and actions for improving and maintaining the health of a countries people. However, in order for a countries health care policy to be implemented, planning needs to occur at all levels of the health care system. Appropriate and feasible health care approaches are the result of expansive health strategies being effectively translated and implemented at the local level. This is particularly important with regard to emerging sectors of care, such as harm minimisation programs for people who inject drugs. Characteristics influencing the implementation process and fidelity are: 1) relative advantage; 2) compatibility, 3) complexity, 4) trialability, 5) observability, 6) obligation and 7) resourcing.

Participants: Two participant groups will be involved; service providers (Staff) and service users (IDU’s). Previous research has neglected the voice of service users, however this study places them in a position of expertise alongside service providers.

Method: This study will be conducted using a mixed methods (survey, interview, focus group), implementation science design which focuses on providing practice based evidence, for evidence based community Needle and Syringe Programs in Sydney NSW.

Quantitative data: Surveys will collect demographic and IDU’s history data for the quantitative analysis of implementation characteristics.

Qualitative data: Provider and user interviews (individual and focus group discussion) data will be gathered and analysed for an in depth understanding of NSP implementation statuses and prospects.

Results: It is intended that the study will benefit both participant groups and policy makers by way of; improving current implementation practice, protecting the health and wellbeing of people who inject drugs, and provide policy makers with practice based evidence to support the development, adoption and implementation of evidence based harm minimisation policy.

*contact: Danielle Tiresias


Rehabilitation Counselling Skills

Vocational Assessment
Job Placement
Career Counselling