AHPs provide system-wide care to assess, treat, diagnose and discharge patients across social care, housing, education, and independent and voluntary sectors. Through adopting an holistic approach to healthcare, AHPs are able to help manage patients' care throughout the life course from birth to palliative care. Their focus is on prevention and improvement of health and wellbeing to maximise the potential for individuals to live full and active lives within their family circles, social networks, education/training and the workplace.
At our Trust we employ six Allied Health Professions that work across a wide range of clinical areas and settings. Each Allied Health Professional is a degree educated clinician.
The six professions are:
Registered dietitians assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. They work within all areas of the NHS (primary, secondary and tertiary care) as well as within public health, local government, care settings, research, industry and private practice. Dietitians use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices. They work with a wide range of patients in every age group, helping to treat, manage and support recovery from complex and varied conditions which includes diabetes , allergies, cancer and mental health.
Orthotists are autonomous registered practitioners who provide gait analysis and engineering solutions. Orthotists practice in acute and community settings. They are extensively trained at undergraduate level in mechanics, bio-mechanics, material science, anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. They are qualified to modify prosthetic and orthotic componentry, taking responsibility for the impact of any changes.
Orthotists treat patients with problems of the neuro, muscular and skeletal systems resulting from conditions such as: diabetes, arthritis, cerebral palsy, stroke, spina bifida, scoliosis, MSK, sports injuries and trauma. They design and provide orthoses; externally applied devices that modify the structural or functional characteristics of the patients' neuro-muscular and skeletal systems enabling patients to mobilise, eliminate gait deviations, reduce falls, reduce pain, prevent and facilitate healing of ulcers. They often form part of multidisciplinary teams such as the diabetic foot team or neuro-rehabilitation team.
Occupational therapy provides practical support to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. This support increases people's independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.
"Occupation" as a term refers to practical and purposeful activities that allow people to live independently and have a sense of identity. This could be essential day-to-day tasks such as self-care, work or leisure.
Occupational Therapists enable a brighter future.
At North West Boroughs there are over 130 Occupational Therapists who work across the areas of:
- Adult mental health
- Later life and memory services
- Learning disabilities
- Intermediate care
- Independent living
- Pulmonary rehabilitation
- Eating disorders
- Community rehabilitation
- Autistic spectrum conditions
- Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
- Early stroke discharge
Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession that works with people to identify and maximise their ability to move and function. Functional movement is a key part of what it means to be healthy and this means that physiotherapy plays a key role in enabling people to improve their health, including prevention of long term conditions and enabling self-management. Physiotherapists are autonomous practitioners, with expertise in the use of physical and psychosocial approaches to rehabilitation, optimising independence and quality of life. Physiotherapy is a science-based profession and takes an evidenced approach to 'whole person' health and wellbeing.
Physiotherapists undertake assessment, diagnosis, treatment, discharge, referral, rehabilitation and management of long-term conditions. Physiotherapists use a range of interventions including education, advice, movement, physical activity and manual therapy. Physiotherapists can acquire independent prescribing rights and train to inject or refer for appropriate pathology and radiology investigations. Physiotherapists work with patients of all ages including those with; musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and neurological conditions. Physiotherapists also contribute to and lead services for patients with cancer, dementia, mental health problems and chronic pain. Physiotherapists work in many sectors and settings.
The Occupational Health Physiotherapists provide early intervention for musculoskeletal injuries with the aim of avoiding sickness absence for staff. The Physiotherapists assess, diagnose and provide work focused rehabilitation to ensure a safe and early return to work. The Physiotherapists work alongside the Occupational Health consultants, nurses and counsellors as part of a multi-disciplinary team and provide services to both NHS and private organisations.
Podiatrists are clinicians who work collaboratively with their patients, carers, GPs, consultants, other healthcare professionals and AHPs to enable lifestyle changes and support the best health outcomes possible for their patients
Podiatrists work across multiple settings including clinics, patient's own homes, residential and nursing homes, hospital wards and outpatient clinics and also in Primary Care
Podiatrists are the experts in all aspects of foot and lower limb structure, function and health. They are highly skilled health care professionals trained to diagnose, treat, rehabilitate and prevent disease and complications of the feet, ankles and lower limbs. They can prevent and manage foot problems, relieve pain, treat infection and support foot deformities, to keep people of all ages mobile and active.
Podiatrists play an important role in the multidisciplinary team in diabetic limb salvage. Understanding the function of the lower limb and being experts in musculoskeletal conditions of the foot and lower limb is important in the context of the diabetic foot and other long term conditions where lower limb abnormalities often precede ulcer development. Preventive ulcer development strategies employed by a podiatrist include regular monitoring, routine care of calluses, and insole and footwear recommendations.
Care of the diabetic foot involves effective prevention including regular foot examinations with risk stratification and appropriate education tailored to individual patients. Podiatrists additionally play an essential role in the monitoring and treatment of active foot ulcerations by providing sharp debridement and offloading of pressure as well as ensuring dressing selection is appropriate for the type of wound present.
Other foot related conditions where Podiatrists provide care include in the treatment of pathological nail conditions including carrying out nail surgery under local anaesthetic for ingrowing toenails and in the debridement of corns and callus. The Podiatrist plays an important role in maintaining the mobility of patients and help prevent falls especially related to the elderly and frail
Speech and language therapists (SLTs) provide life-improving treatment, support and care for children and adults who have difficulties with communication, eating, drinking or swallowing. SLTs assess and treat speech, language and communication problems in people of all ages to help them communicate more effectively. They also assess, treat and develop personalised plans to support people who have eating and swallowing difficulties. Using specialist skills, SLTs work directly with clients and their carers and provide them with tailored support. They also work closely with teachers and other health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, other AHPs and psychologists to develop individual treatment programmes.
SLT's have a key role in supporting the assessment of an individual's capacity, particularly where a communication impairment is questioned or present; which is required to support complex decision making. They are also likely to be involved in assessment and management of autism spectrum disorders.
SLTs play an important role in public health including screening and early identification of speech (Language and Communication) and swallowing difficulties. For example, they identify children with early language delays and provide targeted support to children with communication difficulties who live in areas of social disadvantage. SLTs also support the rehabilitation and enablement of people with acquired and developmental conditions, such as people with learning disabilities or individuals who have experienced a stroke. SLTs provide care for children and adults in community settings which helps to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and decrease the need for crisis management of conditions such as dysphagia.
SLTs work with people with learning disabilities to support and promote health and well-being within every aspect of the person's life. For people with learning disabilities functional communication skills within everyday life are the primary focus rather than following a developmental or rehab approach. Speech and language therapists are seen as core professionals working in adult learning disability services.