Who are they and what do they do? Profile of allied health professionals working with people with disabilities in rural and remote New South Wales

Gisselle Gallego, Rebecca Jean Chedid, Angela Dew, Michelle Lincoln, Anita Bundy, Craig Veitch, Kim Bulkeley, Jennie Brentnall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To explore the characteristics of allied health professionals (AHPs) working with people with disabilities in western New South Wales (NSW). Design: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using an online questionnaire. Setting: Rural western NSW. Participants: AHPs including physiotherapists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists and psychologists ('therapists') working with people with disabilities. Main outcome measure: AHPs characteristics. Results: The majority of respondents were women (94%), with a mean age of 39 years; average time since qualification was 14 years; mean years in current position was 6. Most worked with people with a lifelong disability. Two thirds reported that family ties kept them in rural areas; 71% grew up in a rural/remote area. Most participants (94%) enjoyed the rural lifestyle, and 84% reported opportunities for social interaction as good or very good. Participants with dependent children were less likely to cease working in western NSW within 5 years than those without dependent children (P<0.05). Conclusions: The characteristics of therapists working with people with disabilities in rural NSW were identified. Overall working, but also social conditions and community attachment were important for this group. Understanding the workforce will contribute to policy development to meet increasing demands for therapy services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-234
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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