Making a difference everyday | The fundamental role of allied health professionals in improving our health and well-being
In our last post we wrote about the value of nurses in our health care system, partly because of the amazing role that nurses are playing throughout the health care system during the response to the Covid-19 virus, but also because it was recently International Nurses Day, and 2020 is the International Year of Nurses.
Now we want to say a few words about the invaluable role of allied health professionals in Australia. You might have come across the term “allied health”, or “allied health professional” – but maybe you’re uncertain about who they are and what they do. Knowing about allied healthcare services, and how they might help, can make a lot of difference to your health. Fortunately, even if we don’t know everything about allied health, our GP does, and in fact these days many GP clinics have allied health practitioners as part of the team, such as podiatrists, physiotherapists, and psychologists. The federal government health information website Healthdirect defines allied health practitioners :
Allied health practitioners are trained professionals who are not doctors, dentists or nurses. They can help you manage your physical or mental health, through services that include diagnosis, treatment or rehabilitation.
The site gives a comprehensive list of the types of allied health practitioners.
- social workers
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners
- occupational therapists
- medical radiation practitioners
- speech pathology
- Chinese medicine practitioners
- accredited exercise physiologists
The peak body of allied health professional groups (Allied Health Professions Australia) describes allied health as providing crucial support for people experiencing disability, chronic illness and a wide range of other health issues. Allied health professionals represent almost a third of the country’s health care workforce and deliver over 200 million health services annually. They are university qualified practitioners with specialised expertise in preventing, diagnosing and treating a range of conditions and illnesses. Allied health practitioners often work within a multidisciplinary health team to provide specialised support for different patient needs.
The federal Department of Health indicates that allied health workers are located in a range of settings including hospitals, private practice, community health and in-home care, and that they work with emphasis on healthy lifestyle and on independence; whether that is physically, psychologically, cognitively or socially. They go on to say that the allied health workforce works across the spectrum from acute to primary care and aged care. Allied health professions also have a large role in the management of people with disabilities, from childhood to adulthood.
COVID-19, Telehealth and Allied Health
Recently the government has expanded the range of Telehealth consultation options to support self-isolation and quarantine to reduce the community spread of COVID-19.
Telehealth is the use of the phone or other electronic device to have a voice call or video call with a doctor or other health care provider, while you are still at home. The expansion now includes telehealth delivery of allied health services. This is for all patients, with or without COVID–19, to see eligible allied health professionals during the COVID–19 health emergency. People will still need to be referred by their GP to an allied health practitioner.
Gong Life Care Solutions (GLCS), as an NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) provider with experience in the health, disability and aged care sectors, is often in contact with allied health professionals. We know their role is vital in enabling people to remain at home, and to remain as independent as possible.
We come in contact most often with Occupational Therapists (OTs). In a nutshell, OTs focus on improving a person's ability to perform activities of daily living – the things that “occupy” you from day to day. OTs must have a degree in occupational therapy and be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA).
Healthdirect (previously mentioned in this post) indicates that:
“An OT can help you maintain, regain or improve your independence by using different techniques, changing your environment, and using new / different equipment”.
People developing or reviewing an NDIS plan, a My Aged Care package, or eligible for Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) supports and services, can discuss the need for allied health services with their relevant provider.
These types of plans and programs may also fund needed equipment to eligible people.
Equipment and modifications for the home
NDIS, My Aged Care, and DVA can fund a range of medical aids, equipment and home modifications to improve the quality of life of eligible people, and help them to remain independent in the home and community. The items that can be accessed depend on what you need. People will need to be assessed by their GP, and/or an allied health professional, for each of these programs.
GLCS is the sole supplier of several highly innovative mobility/independence/support products for the home or other facilities, which are of superior quality, and designed with both users and carers in mind. They are safe, light, portable where necessary.
See our light foldable indoor rollator/wheely walker called KMINA. Check out our Relaxa Bath lift, and the award-winning posture-support wheelchair, called the STRONBACK.
One of our most celebrated product is the Aquabuddy-Home shower-in-bed system. Better than a trolley bath. Better than transferring to a bathroom. Made in Italy, made from quality components; it is the only medical device that allows people with disabilities or mobility problems to be showered, have the perineal area cleaned, and have their hair washed, directly in bed avoiding any physical or psychological stress to clients or carers. Aquabuddy-Home is adaptable to any bed, and it turns hygiene care into an easy, quick and safe job.
We welcome enquiries from community members and health and allied health professionals. https://gonglcs.com.au/products/aquabuddy-home-shower-in-your-bed
- Healthdirect, Allied Health, https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/allied-health
- Allied Health Professions Australia, https://ahpa.com.au/allied-health
- Australian Government Department of Health, Allied Health Workforce. https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/work-review-australian-government-health-workforce-programs-toc~chapter-8-developing-dental-allied-health-workforce~chapter-8-allied-health-workforce
Contact us on 1300 907 280, Tues to Fri, 8.00 am – 5.00 pm AEDT
We deliver free anywhere in Australia.
Follow us on –