What Is Allied Health? What Are Allied Health Professionals Supposed To Do?

Allied Health Professionals

Did you know that Allied Health Professionals represent one-third of Australia’s health workforce? Now, you’re likely wondering what an Allied Health Professional means and what they do. Well, all of your questions will be answered right here.

The most important point to note is that Allied Health Professionals are directly linked to services ranging from aged care to mental health and disability. Let’s take more of a deep dive into this and break it down for you.

What Is Meant By Allied Health?

Whilst currently, there isn’t a distinct overall term for allied health, its term is broad because of the range of services allied health covers. Different departments have their own definition for it, although the basic principle of allied health is to be a qualified university practitioner with expertise in treating and diagnosing a range of health conditions and illnesses. This doesn’t mean that allied health professionals are considered nurses or dental qualified, rather a group of clinicians who deliver direct and high-quality care to patients within areas such as physiotherapy, radiography, chiropothy and dietary. 

Here are some pointers to help support this definition. An allied health professional:

  • Recover and support mobility
  • Deal with visibility issues
  • Maintain and develops communication skills
  • Improves self-confidence
  • Focus on the restoration of cognitive, psychological, social and optimal functions

How Do Allied Health Professionals Perform Their Role?

Allied health workers perform the following tasks:

  • Patients are assessed, diagnosed, treated, discharged, and/or referred to further services.
  • Other physicians, students, patients, and carers to teach, train, and mentor
  • Expand clinical and practitioner duties beyond professional and organisational boundaries
  • Liaise with other professionals and offer expert guidance
  • Play a crucial role in promoting health and activity in local organisations’ and services’ strategic planning and policy creation
  • Carry out development and research

Entry and Education Requirements of Allied Health Professionals

To be professionally qualified as an Allied Health Professional, the following requirements would be required:

Apprenticeship With A Bachelor’s Degree

Some AHP positions can also be trained through a degree apprenticeship. Working and studying at the same time is what this entails. They usually last four years and combine academic education with paid work experience. Universities and employers who offer apprenticeships will almost require an interview as well.

Admission Prerequisites

All practising professionals hold an Australian Qualification Framework level 7 or higher university-level qualification in a recognised allied health field that is accredited by their national accreditation authority.

What Can I Expect When I Visit An Allied Health Professional?

They will ask you health-related questions and may examine you. Your treatment will be determined by your medical needs as well as your lifestyle.

Bring a notebook with you to write down your questions, symptoms, previous treatments, and drugs you’re taking.

Does Medicare Cover The Cost Of An Allied Health Professional?

A visit to an allied health practitioner is usually not covered by Medicare. You may be eligible for Medicare rebates if you have a long-term health condition. Your doctor must produce a ‘care plan,’ such as a chronic illness management plan or a mental health treatment plan, for you to receive Medicare rebates.

How Do I Find An Allied Health Professional?

Your doctor may refer you. You can communicate with your relatives and friends.

A list of allied health professionals and other health services can be found in the National Health Services Directory.

To practise in Australia, almost all allied health practitioners must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

How Would I Know Whether I Need An Allied Health Professional?

Your doctor can assist you in determining whether or not an allied health service is appropriate for you. Make an effort to be transparent and honest about your requirements.

You can also ask the following:

  • What will the cost of my treatment be?
  • If Allied Health isn’t right for me, what alternatives are there?
  • Will there be communication between yourself and my doctor?
  • How can you assist me?

Asking these questions can give you a comprehensive understanding of how an allied health professional and whether it’s right for you.