Have you ever wondered what is meant by the term allied health professional? It seems to be a question on many people’s lips, so as we acknowledge Allied Health Professions Day this October, we shed some light on the topic.
It’s no secret that the human body is complex, comprised of intricate systems and networks that function alongside each other. And when something goes wrong that affects one of those systems, like an injury or illness, the effects can reverberate and impact several facets of a person’s physical or emotional well-being.
Often, it can take a multidisciplinary team of health professionals to help treat or manage an ailment – especially if it becomes a chronic condition.
Those professionals involved in health care who aren’t doctors, nurses or dentists are known as allied health professionals.
What is an Allied Health Professional?
According to Allied Health Professions Australia, there are around 200,000 allied health professionals in Australia, equating to approximately a third of the country’s health workforce.
Allied health professionals are not doctors, nurses or dentists. However, they do have university qualifications and specialised knowledge and training in a specific health science discipline.
These practitioners have a direct role in a patient’s care and may provide health services such as preventing, diagnosing, managing and treating conditions or illnesses.
In some cases, the best health outcomes for patients are only achieved with a multidisciplinary team creating a custom care plan. You may find allied health professionals working in several settings, for example, hospitals, private practices, schools, universities and residential aged-care facilities.
It’s also important to note that allied health professions are either regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) or self-regulated by a professional association.
Examples of Allied Health Professionals
The allied health professionals involved in a healthcare team will depend on a patient’s condition and where they are in their diagnostic, treatment or recovery journey, but may include:
- Anaesthetic Technicians
- Cardiac Scientists
- Exercise physiologists
- Medical Imaging – including sonographers, radiographers and radiologists
- Occupational therapists
- Respiratory Scientists
- Sleep Scientists
- Social workers
- Speech pathologists
Allied Health Professions Day
Allied Health Professions Day (AHPs Day) occurs annually on October 14. It is an internationally recognised event celebrating and acknowledging allied health professionals.
This year, there is a focus on the benefits of a multidisciplinary care team, with the key theme being ‘stronger together’.
Supporting Allied Health Professionals and their Research
At The Common Good, we are proud to support essential research carried out by many Allied Health Professionals at The Prince Charles Hospital and Caboolture Hospital.
“As Allied Health Professionals, we’ve long understood the valuable contribution we make to the design and delivery of evidence-based holistic healthcare that really makes a difference to the wellbeing and quality of life of our patients. As this year’s theme highlights, those benefits are even more pronounced when we work together in multidisciplinary teams. This value is being recognised more and more by the healthcare system and with the support of The Common Good and The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation we’ve been able to fund projects that test new and innovative Allied Health-led models of care that have a direct impact on our TPCH patients and community,” said The Prince Charles Hospital’s Director of Allied Health, Perry Judd.
Dr Jack Bell who is supported by The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, is a dietitian and The Prince Charles Hospital’s 2022 Researcher of the Year, and does not believe dietitians should be relied on as the sole nutrition provider in a healthcare setting. This is why he brings patients, care providers and experts together to develop and field test models that support team-based care both in and out of the hospital.
The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation is proud to support a number of Allied Health Professions through research grants, only made possible through the generosity of our community. Click here to read about three of our new investigator grant recipients, who are allied health professionals, and their research projects.
You can donate to support further advancements in Allied Health here.