AQA has welcomed an occupational therapist to the team. Emma O’Brien will offer her skills and lead an expansion of our services.
Emma started out in Queensland with Spinal Life, a not-for profit organisation supporting and advocating for people living with spinal cord injury. There she gained an appreciation for community-based support - working with people in their homes and having her thinking challenged and inspired by their creative solutions.
A few years ago she moved to Victoria, plying her skills in community-based aged care. After joining an organisation as its sole allied health worker, she built a team of 65 that operated across three states.
Now she's building something with us.
“I'm excited to be reconnecting with the spinal cord injury community,” Emma says. “I have a lot of fun tinkering with equipment. I love it when people come to me with a really crazy idea that they're not sure is possible. I love that because it's always possible. How you get there is the question.”
Emma sees big benefits from embedding allied health specialists in the AQA ecosystem, where they can work closely with our support coordinators, our lived experience team and our support workers.
“It's about being able to build a support team around you who are responsive to your needs as they evolve,” she explains. “And because those people are all under the same roof, they can be providing more cohesive and meaningful support.”
Naz Erderm, Practice Leader at Spire, has been working closely with Emma to tailor the emerging services for AQA. He sees slack in the current system for a more thoughtful and targeted approach to allied health, and sees AQA as well placed to take it up.
“The need for allied health services has really grown,” Naz says.
“It's great that we’re stepping in, because we know we can do it well.”
Emma and Naz see AQA services expanding beyond occupational therapy to specialties such as physiotherapy and dietetics.
“We'll develop in the direction the demand takes us,” Emma says.
- Dan Nathan