This study aims to determine the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and safety of the current model of weekend allied health service and a new stakeholder-driven model of weekend allied health service delivery on acute medical and surgical wards compared to having no weekend allied health service.
Methods/Design: Two stepped wedge, cluster randomised trials of weekend allied health services will be conducted in six acute medical/surgical wards across two public metropolitan hospitals in Melbourne (Australia). Wards have been chosen to participate by management teams at each hospital. The allied health services to be investigated will include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, dietetics, social work and allied health assistants. At baseline, all wards will be receiving weekend allied health services. Study 1 intervention will be the sequential disinvestment (roll-in) of the current weekend allied health service model from each participating ward in monthly intervals and study 2 will be the roll-out of a new stakeholder-driven model of weekend allied health service delivery. The order in which weekend allied health services will be rolled in and out amongst participating wards will be determined randomly. This trial will be conducted in each of the two participating hospitals at a different time interval. Primary outcomes will be length of stay, rate of unplanned hospital readmission within 28 days and rate of adverse events. Secondary outcomes will be number of complaints and compliments, staff absenteeism, and patient discharge destination, satisfaction, and functional independence at discharge.
Discussion: This is the world’s first application of the recently described non-inferiority (roll-in) stepped wedge trial design, and the largest investigation of the effectiveness of weekend allied health services on acute medical surgical wards to date.
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- Allied health
- Randomised trial