Michelle Tennyson, PHA Assistant Director, Allied Health Professions and Public Involvement
Wednesday 14 October 2020 is Allied Health Professions’ (AHPs) Day – a day to recognise, value and celebrate the work and impact of our AHPs across the Health and Social Care workforce.
The thirteen Allied Health Professions (AHPs) span the breadth and depth of the health and social care system, but this year the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has particularly driven home the strength and versatility of our AHP workforce and our role in tackling public health issues and improving the wellbeing of the population.
AHPs have been supporting people with Covid-19 in hospital by helping to address complications that can be physical, for example breathing and swallowing difficulties, or emotional. They are also working hard to help people return to their own homes as safely and as quickly as possible. AHPs continue to help people recover at home, for example addressing fatigue, problems walking or dressing, loneliness, and emotional support, therefore preventing further ill-health and improving wellbeing.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Care Home residents has been dramatic, and AHPs have worked across Northern Ireland to develop a range of resources to help keep care home residents healthy, active, and engaged, through safe eating and drinking, managing breathlessness and fatigue, and using music-based activities to promote general wellbeing, inclusion and participation.
For Children and Young People, AHPs have been working closely with colleagues in the health and education sectors to get our children back to school safely. We have had a particular focus on identifying those children who have health problems and special educational needs and finding ways to help ensure they receive their AHP services in these challenging times, for example working with children to develop their communication skills and interactions with those around them, their families, friends and teachers.
AHPs have developed new ways of working during the pandemic using a range of digital and virtual solutions to provide as many people as possible with support at a time of social distancing restrictions, for example video or phone consultations were rapidly set up and online resources created.
Learning from the experiences of people who use our services remains an essential practice for the AHPs and we have embraced the new online patient feedback website for Northern Ireland – www.careopinion.org.uk
As a group of thirteen Allied Health Professions, we are committed to working with other healthcare professionals, service users and carers, and community and voluntary organisations to meet the needs of people in our communities. I would like to personally thank my AHP colleagues across Northern Ireland for their dedication, energy and passion in improving the health and wellbeing of our population.