Who Are Allied Health Professionals & Their Roles?

In today’s world of healthcare, you often hear the term “allied health professionals” bandied about. Not everyone is aware of what allied health professionals roles entail or what allied health is really all about.

Let’s take a closer look at the subject of allied health, the job roles that it encompasses and how it presents advantages when it comes to comprehensive patient care.

What Is Allied Health? What Does It Mean?

Allied health is quite a new term in the medical profession. Allied health provides healthcare to many Australians, including:

  • Aged care
  • Mental health
  • Disability support services
  • And more…

Presently, around 195,000 allied health professionals are providing more than 200 million health services each year in Australia.

One point to note is that allied healthcare professionals are not doctors, nurses or dentists, but they are fully trained and qualified allied health professionals, equipped with the knowledge, training and experience to competently perform the tasks required of them.

To better understand what professions come under the allied health umbrella, let’s list just a few examples:

  • Social workers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Chiropractors
  • Physiotherapists
  • Optometrists
  • Speech pathologists
  • Psychologists
  • Pharmacists
  • Osteopaths
  • Podiatrists
  • Counsellors
  • Dietitians
  • And more…

Allied health is all about the combination of different healthcare services to ensure the proper care provided to patients on every level required. It’s about streamlining the process of care to offer a more efficient and comprehensive outcome.

Another key advantage for Aussie patients is that many of these allied health services can be accessed directly by the patient, without the need for a referral from a doctor or specialist. Patients, therefore, have more direct control over the healthcare they require and receive at any given time. This is provided the patient has private health insurance. In the case of some government-funded services, a referral from a GP may be required first.

The Benefits and Advantages Of Allied Health

Let’s now take a look at how allied healthcare professionals can come together to provide benefits and advantages to the patients in their care.

While healthcare heavily relies on qualified doctors, nurses and specialists, as noted in the section above, comprehensive healthcare also involves many other professionals who are trained specialists in their chosen fields. This can range from dieticians helping clients to manage health conditions, to NDIS support coordination workers assisting those with disabilities to live more independently. Under the organised umbrella of allied health, patients can gain access to the professional services they require for treatment, rehabilitation, ongoing home care for the aged or people with a disability, and more.

In many cases, a patient requires the assistance of more than one healthcare professional. An example might be an aged care patient, who regularly requires the expert services of an optometrist, chiropractor and pharmacist.

Someone who has suffered severe injuries in an accident could need the services of a physiotherapist, speech pathologist, counsellor and more.

Where Do Allied Health Professionals Work?

Professionals working in the field of allied health perform important services in a number of different environments. One obvious location is in either a public or private hospital environment, where they provide care to various patients as necessary. However, a hospital is far from being the only place where patients can access the assistance of allied healthcare workers.

Another obvious place where the services of allied health professionals can be accessed in the private practice of the professional, such as a chiropractor, optometrist, pharmacist or physiotherapist.

In-home care for the aged, individuals suffering from dementia, people with disabilities and those recovering from an injury is another area where allied health professionals work closely with their patients.

Other locations where allied health professionals work include:

  • Schools and universities
  • Community health centres
  • Mental health centres
  • Care homes
  • And more…

Finding Jobs In Allied Health

For professionals seeking employment, the job roles in allied health are varied. The best way for a professional to find allied health professional jobs is to team up with a recruitment company that specialises in placements in the medical profession. This will shortcut the process and you’ll likely discover job opportunities that are not advertised anywhere else.

In addition to this, rather than being just one of many applicants to posted positions on a public job board, a recruitment firm will screen candidates first, giving you a far better chance of a successful placement.

In Conclusion

Allied health is a beneficial system for complete patient care and it also offers numerous job opportunities for a variety of qualified healthcare professionals.