What are allied health professionals?
Allied health covers a broad range of conditions and illnesses. There are many different allied health professionals in the Brisbane south region. Allied health professionals provide specialist services for people of all ages and with various health issues — children, older people, people with chronic conditions, mental health issues, disabilities and those requiring rehabilitation.
Audiologists are hearing specialists who manage hearing health. They specialise in assessment, prevention and non-medical management of hearing loss, deafness and related conditions (including Tinnitus), and balance disorders.
Audiologists provide assessment to all ages, from infants to adults, and help through the application of technology, rehabilitation and therapy.
- Hearing screening and monitoring
- Diagnostic audiological assessment
- Hearing rehabilitation and communication programs
- Balance and neural assessment
- Assessment of workplace hearing injury
- Hearing conservation and education
Audiologists offer specialist services for:
- Cochlear Implant assessments and rehabilitation
- diagnosis of auditory and vestibular conditions
- auditory Processing Disorders – assessment and rehabilitation
- tinnitus – assessment, treatment and counselling
- hearing Aids – individualised selection, fitting and follow up
- paediatric services for hearing disorders including auditory processing disorders
- geriatric services for complex problems associated with ageing
- noise induced hearing loss
- unilateral hearing loss / single sided deafness
- intervention for severe to profound deafness
- sudden hearing loss
Chiropractors focus on the diagnosis, correction and prevention of disorders of the muscle and skeletal (spine, pelvis, limbs) systems and how these affect the nervous system and overall health.
They work with GPs and AHPs to care for people with a wide range of acute or chronic disorders including neuromusculoskeletal disorders, such as:
- acute or chronic back pain
- extremity pain and dysfunction
- poor mobility
- degenerating posture
- migraine headaches
Credentialed Diabetes Educators (CDEs) are healthcare professionals qualified to provide personalised diabetes education and care that empowers people with diabetes to deal with their daily self-management.
They provide support for people with diabetes (including Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes) integrating clinical care, self-management education, skills training and disease specific information to motivate patients to:
- understand diabetes and make informed lifestyle and treatment choices
- incorporate physical activity into daily life
- use their medicines effectively and safely
- monitor and interpret their blood glucose patterns.
Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) are the experts in food and nutrition, and the only allied health professionals recognised by Medicare to provide medical nutrition therapy. APDs translate scientific health and nutrition information into practical, personalised advice about what people should eat. They work across the lifespan, from pregnancy, breastfeeding and infant feeding, paediatrics, to aged care.
They are qualified to modify diets for weight loss (or gain) and to treat many health conditions such as:
- heart disease
- renal disease
- gastro-intestinal diseases
- Coeliac disease (gluten free diets)
- food allergies or intolerances
- eating disorders
- mental health
Dietitians may provide advice and treatment when:
- a new diagnosis requires specific dietary modification
- an assessment of a patient’s nutritional needs is required
- a patient has a poor understanding of dietary management.
Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) are equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies to design, deliver and evaluate safe and effective exercise interventions for people with acute, sub-acute or chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities.
AEPs provide education, exercise prescription and self-management support for:
- diabetes and pre-diabetes
- cardiovascular disease
- neurological conditions
- musculoskeletal (including arthritis and osteoporosis)
- kidney disease
- respiratory / pulmonary conditions
- mental health
- any other conditions for which there is evidence that exercise can improve the client’s clinical status
N.B. Exercise physiologists are not personal trainers, but university-trained experts in exercise therapy and lifestyle interventions.
Occupational Therapist (OT)
Occupational Therapists (OT) assist people of all ages to overcome limitations caused by injury or illness, psychological or emotional difficulties, developmental delay or the effects of aging.
They assist people to participate in their chosen activities of everyday life (occupation) and move from dependence to independence, maximising their personal capability. OT’s work with people to overcome a wide range of conditions including:
- cardiovascular disease
- neurological conditions
Paediatric OT’s can assist children to engage in school, play, and self-care occupations and to participate in their life roles with their families at home, school, and in the community. Some children can have difficulties with play and learning, possibly because of conditions they have been born with, perhaps an injury or simply differences in their learning style and needs.
Services that OT’s can assist with:
- developmental delay
- physical rehabilitation
- home modification
- social and emotional wellbeing, including coping strategies for overcoming mental health issues
- driver assessment and rehabilitation
- prescribing adaptive equipment and training in the use of specialised equipment to assist function
- assessing clients’ cognition, function and psychosocial needs
- injury management and return to work programs.
An Osteopath provides manual therapy to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems and other functional disorders of the body, taking a ‘whole of body’ approach. Osteopaths are primary care practitioners, and are trained to be able to recognise conditions that require medical referral. They are also trained to carry out standard medical examinations of the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous system.
Osteopaths most commonly work with patients suffering from
- back and neck pain
- pain in peripheral joints such as shoulders, knees and ankles, tendonitis and muscle strains
- work-related and repetitive strain injuries
- sports-related injuries
- general musculoskeletal conditions.
Physiotherapists are experts in the diagnosis, management and prevention of movement disorders, and assist patients of all ages with musculoskeletal, cardiothoracic and neurological problems.
They provide a wide range of services to relieve pain, restore function and movement, and prevent further problems including:
- lifestyle modification and self-management advice
- manual and electrophysical therapies
- prescribing aids and appliances
- prescribing exercise and supervising exercise classes
Physiotherapists treat a range of conditions such as:
- cardiovascular disease
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- sports injuries
- chronic pain
A Podiatrist deals with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and lower limbs. They implement risk prevention strategies to prevent foot pathologies, provide treatment that delays or minimises the need for hospitalisation and/or invasive treatment, and create therapeutic health care plans, which maximise a patient’s quality of life. Podiatrists are especially important to people with diabetes, who are at increased risk of lower limb amputation.
Podiatrists can diagnose and treat complications that affect skin and nails, corns, calluses and ingrown toenails, foot injuries and infections. They manage pressure areas and prevent ulceration to keep patients mobile.
Podiatrists may treat patients with bone and joint disorders including:
- soft tissue and muscular pathologies
- circulatory diseases.
Psychologists provide their expertise by assessing and diagnosing a range of problems, developing evidence-based strategies and treatments (such as such as cognitive behavioural therapy) and offering guidance and support.
Psychologists generally assist people with a range of everyday problems such as stress and relationship difficulties. They also provide counselling and therapy for people with diagnosed mental disorders, such as anxiety disorders or depression. They help people to develop the skills needed to cope and function better, and to prevent ongoing problems. Many psychologists have postgraduate qualifications or doctoral level qualifications in clinical psychology. Clinical psychologists have specialist training in psychological assessment and therapy with diagnosed psychiatric and/or mental disorders.
Many people at some point in their lives will have need for psychological advice or care. Here are just a few examples:
- a child with behaviour problems or learning difficulties
- an adolescent with severe shyness
- parents needing advice and support, or a new mother not coping
- people dealing with major health problems
- a young person dealing with sexuality issues
- military personnel coping with trauma
- people suffering from the stresses of modern life
- couples and families with relationship challenges
- a retrenched worker with depression
- individuals struggling with long-term mental illness
- a young person contemplating suicide
- a retiree coping with loss
- individuals battling addictions
- elderly people living with dementia.
Social Workers work with individuals, families, groups and communities in the context of their physical, social and cultural environments, their past and current experiences, and their cultural and belief systems. In all contexts, social workers maintain a dual focus on both assisting with and improving human wellbeing and identifying and addressing any external issues (known as system or structural issues) that may impact on wellbeing or may create inequality, injustice and discrimination.
Social workers may undertake roles in casework, counselling, advocacy, community engagement and development and social action to address issues at both the personal and social level.
Common issues that social workers support others to address include:
- substance abuse
- mental health issues
- physical health issues
- child and family welfare concerns
- family violence
- offending behaviour.
Mental Health Social Workers
Accredited Mental Health Social Workers are registered providers with Medicare Australia. An Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AMHSW) is eligible to provide services through the Commonwealth-funded Better Access to Mental Health Care and Chronic Disease Management (Enhanced Primary Care) programs.
They work with individuals with mental health disorders to resolve associated psychosocial problems and families in which mental health problems exist in connection with social problems, such as family distress, unemployment, disability, poverty and trauma. Mental health social workers provide a range of evidence-based interventions.
They work with issues such as
- mood and personality disorders
- suicidal thoughts
- relationship problems
- adjustment issues
- family conflicts.
Speech Pathologists study, diagnose and treat communication disorders, including difficulties with speaking, listening, understanding language, reading, writing, social skills, stuttering and using voice. People who experience difficulties swallowing food and drink safely can also be helped by a speech pathologist, including babies who are not breast or bottle feeding properly, or toddlers not eating solids.
They work with people of all ages (including the very young) with difficultly communicating or swallowing due to:
- developmental delays
- brain injuries
- learning disability
- intellectual disability
- cerebral palsy
- hearing loss
- Autism Spectrum disorder
- head and neck cancers
- other problems that can affect speech and language.
- Lymphoedema therapist
- Music therapist