Allied health professionals are critical in healthcare

We’re extraordinarily fortunate to be living in the day and age we find ourselves. After all, we’re the beneficiaries of many, many years of medical/health research, development and discovery. One of the very important recent discoveries regarding wholesome and long-term healthcare is the critical role that allied health professionals play.

Collaborative Healthcare and Allied Health Professionals

It’s a given nowadays to understand that it takes a diverse team of health professionals to ensure truly high-quality and comprehensive healthcare.

While many people think of doctors and/or nurses when they picture what the healthcare industry looks like, the reality is quite more varied. For many individuals their first point of contact with the healthcare industry as a whole, assuming they haven’t become acutely sick or injured, is with an allied health professional.

In fact, allied health practitioners don’t just operate within the confines of the ever broadening health system. They can be found across industries and in all levels and parts of society. While allied health professionals have certainly been providing invaluable services for a long time, two recent large scale developments in Australia have only served to highlight the importance of their roles in our healthcare system.

  1. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Rollout
  2. The COVID-19 Pandemic

The NDIS

As of 30 September 2021, there are 484,700 participants with an NDIS plan receiving supports and services of some kind. (Source: NDIS Quarterly report: 2021-22 Q1 – Report to disability ministers for Q1 of Y9 Summary Part A)

A large proportion of these participants throughout Australia are receiving allied health therapy and services. Every quarter the NDIS reports consistent increases in the amount of participants and plans.

This has meant a lot more demand for the essential services provided by allied health professionals, including but not limited to psychologists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, behaviour therapists and dietitians.

The increase in awareness of and access to the NDIS has propelled the importance of allied health as part of an overall robust national healthcare system to the front of the collective Australian consciousness.

The COVID-19 Pandemic

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been staggering both around the world and here in Australia and the effects have reverberated throughout the allied health industry, particularly when it comes to mental health specialists and experts.

The sharp increase in demand has not just put more pressure on the system but has also served to really effectively highlight just how important these allied health services really are.

From the expansion of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) related to various allied health services to the adapting of new method of service delivery for both primary and secondary healthcare, COVID-19 as certainly underscored the valuable contribution of allied health professionals in our lives.

Graphic depicting a quote from the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1948, reading: Health is a state of complete mental, social and physical well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

What do allied health professionals do?

Allied health professionals provide a wide range of services to help improve clients’ health, wellbeing and quality of life including:

  • Diagnosing developmental disorders
  • Providing technical health services
  • Offering therapeutic services

Whether they’re operating in a hospital setting, a community centre, private home, or clinic their goal is always to help their clients live as healthy and independent a lifestyle as possible. Whether the therapy and service focuses on physical, cognitive, social or psychological care, allied health specialists employ a wide range of skills and techniques in their day to day care giving.

Another important aspect of allied health workers is that they’re involved in working with clients of all ages and all abilities. While specific professionals might specialist in one area or another, there’s no reason why a psychologist or speech pathologist can’t have child and adult clients at the same time.

Similarly, allied health professionals work in with people with disability, with people with developmental disorders, and with people of all backgrounds. There really is no limit to how many people the allied health industry helps and just how much they help!

If you’re interested in seeing an extensive and comprehensive list of the different allied health disciplines and practitioners, head to the government’s Health Direct website or read about the Allied Health Professions Australia’s key areas of practice.

Aged Care

Allied health professionals who work in aged care focus on helping older people to either maintain or improve their health and wellbeing physically, emotionally and/or socially.

Chronic Disease

A chronic disease is defined as a health condition that is persistent or long lasting in terms of its effects. Allied health specialists can help to reduce the impact of various illnesses and disabilities. This is especially important in Australia where chronic diseases remain a major cause of death.

Disability

Allied health professionals support people with disability to help them fully and independently participate in everyday life to the best of their ability, as well as improve their overall health and wellbeing.

Mental Health

There has been a lot of focus on the importance of mental health in society recently, and for good reason. We’re all well accustomed to ensuring our physical health, but we’re only just starting to appreciate the importance of taking care of our mental health under the professional guidance of allied health practitioners.

Did you know that 1 in 5 Australians have experienced mental health issues?

Black Dog Institute

Rehabilitative Care

When people suffer an injury or need to undergo surgery, allied health professionals can help their rehabilitative process and help them improve their capacity to work and resume their day-to-day activities and lives.

How do I know which allied health professional is right for my care needs?

If you’re not sure what sort of allied health professional you need, you can always give our team, or another service provider, a call and discuss the particulars of your individual situation.

Alternatively, your doctor can help your decide if and which allied health service is right for you. It’s important that you’re honest and open with your doctor and seek advise and care as early as possible to ensure your best set up for success.

When you attend your first appointment, whether they are a psychologist or occupational therapist, they’ll seek to understand your difficulties and symptoms, as well as get to know you, your background and medical history.

This will help them understand and decide whether they can help you with your particular health and wellbeing needs, or if you should rather be referred to a colleague or different therapy provider.

Connecting with your allied health professional is also important. In addition, to making sure you’re aware of the length, cost, location, time and type of appointment, you’ll want to find a specialist that’s right for you and makes you feel supported, comfortable and well cared for.

Graphic depicting a quote from the Mahatma Gandhi, reading: It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.

All your health, therapy and support in one central place!

At One Central Health, we intimately understand the critical role that allied health professionals fill in providing wholesome, effective healthcare. That’s why we offer a wide range of multidisciplinary allied health services with highly qualified and skilled professionals.

Give us a call on (08) 9344 1318 to discuss what you’re looking for and discover how we can help you.

Share this article

We’re here to support you. Always.

Want to book an appointment or find out more?
Book online or give us a call today!