With what appears to be a glimmer of hope amongst us all of a vaccine on its way and with that, the possibility of the sense of normality returning again for the new year, it has been a massive and commendable effort by the healthcare sector throughout Northern Ireland, and so, I wanted to take the opportunity to put our Allied Health Professionals in the spotlight to reflect on the value and importance of their work throughout this past year and for the future of what is yet to come.
For those curious as to who are the Allied Health Professionals, this is the umbrella term used for the multi-disciplinary teams across the health service who work hard to deliver health services that aim to identify, evaluate, prevent and treat diseases, disabilities and disorders, they are patient advocates and rehabilitation experts, including, but not limited to:
2020 has been a challenging time for all and need I use the word unprecedented once more, but throughout the year, the Allied Health workforce, has undoubtedly shown their strength, resilience, adaptability and creativity in the face of the challenges presented by the pandemic, emphasising their combined effort to ensure the maximisation of quality of life and independence for all patients and service users.
Whilst many clinics were suspended with some Allied Health Professionals being redeployed to help colleagues in acute care, we have also seen newly qualified Allied Health Professionals enter the workforce with placements that have been cut short or massively adapted. Allied Health Professionals that have had to leave work due to childcare and retired Allied Health Professionals return to work. Those who remained working within intermediate and community care rose to the challenges that the isolation and social distancing measures of Covid brought, for example performing assessments via telephone, video and online consultation methods or utilising the outdoors.
We have also seen the Allied Health teams work alongside and heavily support the education sector by addressing issues children faced whilst being in lockdown such as special educational needs, developing communication skills and interactions. Throughout the care home sector, which has arguably been hit the hardest, the many Allied Health multi-disciplinary teams have kept residents engaged and active, trying to maintain as much as a routine as possible, and within community care we have seen the Allied Health Professionals continue to support the recovery of individuals at home, managing issues from swallowing or breathing, to performing day to day functions such as getting dressed, all whilst dawning the PPE required, a struggle in itself for building therapeutic rapport with patients.
In hospital settings the Allied Health teams were heavily involved in respiratory wards. They worked with the many service users who were re-admitted into hospital with Covid-related issues, such as disruption of normal routines caused by lockdown restrictions and also a deconditioning of any progress that was made pre-Covid. During Covid the multi-disciplinary teams within Allied Health worked together to assess patients to ensure they could identify appropriate accommodation on return to the community and allow for availability of beds.
Now, as we are beginning to see the encouraging signs of face to face clinics reopening across the trusts again to combat the winter pressures that each year brings with slips and falls, mental health effects, and those who continue to experience existing illnesses and injuries, and the re-establishment of the Nightingale hospital in Whiteabbey to aid the recovery and reablement of Covid victims and support their transition from hospital to home, we know that the work of the Allied Health workforce is far from over.
We face this winter and second wave with a better understanding and knowledge of the profound effect lockdown has had on individuals physical and mental wellbeing and with that the resonated appreciation of the Allied Health workforce in their fundamental role in battling this virus.
If you are an Allied Health Professional in Northern Ireland who would like to contribute to the Workforce Appeal, please contact Katherine to discuss the many opportunities available to you. T:02890447144 or email email@example.com
Thank you to all staff currently out representing Keenan to such a high standard. Your contribution to helping our community is greatly valued.