Allied Health Professionals

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Who are they and how can they help you?

Allied health professionals are a group of various health professionals who can support you if you have dementia. They are often referred to as AHPs and are registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC). http://www.hcpc-uk.org
Allied health professionals are experts in prevention and rehabilitation and will help you focus on your abilities and strengths so you can stay connected to your community and live in your own home for as long as possible. There are several different kinds of allied health professionals and we designed a leaflet about those AHP’s you are most likely to see in a community setting including:
Dieticians to help you to eat and drink well
Occupational therapists to help you to continue with the occupations (activities) that are important to you from getting dressed to hobbies or going to work
Physiotherapists who you to stay active
Podiatrist who you to look after your feet
Speech and language therapists who help you with your everyday conversations and any difficulties you have with swallowing food and fluids.
For other AHP’s (arts therapists, orthoptists, paramedics, prosthetist, orthotists and radiography) visit http://www.ahpf.org.uk
It is best to make early contact with an AHP if you are worried about your memory or if you or someone in your family has recently been diagnosed with dementia. That way you can get the information, advice and treatment that is right for you and your family as quickly as possible. Our leaflet describes how AHP’s can help and how to get in touch with them.

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5 things you should know about the AHP leaflet
1. We designed the leaflet in partnership with the allied health professional bodies, who endorsed and supported the content of the section about their profession
2. We worked with the Scottish Dementia Working Group (S_D_W_G) and the National Dementia Carers Action Network on the content and language use

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3. We will be updating the leaflet at the end of this year and welcome comments on how useful the leaflet. Tell us your idea and comment on this blog or email us at TalkingDementia@Alzscot.org. We will also ask you during Scotland’s Dementia Awareness week (30 May-5 June)
4. We have already shared over 3,000 of the leaflets so far since its launch last summer
5. You can receive a copy of the leaflet 6 ways
• online http://www.alzscot.org/assets/0001/7456/AHP_Leaflet_for_launch.pdf,
• from an Alzheimer Scotland link worker
• from your local Alzheimer Scotland dementia advisor
• at your local Alzheimer Scotland resource centre
• from your local NHS AHP
• email us at TalkingDementia@Alzscot.org and we will send you a copy.

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Thank you for reading this blog. We look forward to hearing your views and ideas on our allied health professional leaflet and this blog?

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Elaine HunterElaine Hunter
Allied Health Professional Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland
@elaineahpmh 

My remit in Alzheimer Scotland is to bring the skills of AHPs to the forefront of dementia practice and to share with them the principles and practice of working in a major charity that is dedicated to “making sure nobody faces dementia alone”. I am leading the delivery of commitment 4 of Scotland’s Dementia Strategy. In short, a great job working with great people.

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Physiotherapist cycles 1080 miles in 9 days for Alzheimer Scotland

 

  1. Can you tell us about your job as a physiotherapist?

I work for the East Lothian Adult Joint Mental Health Team. It’s a multi-disciplinary team which includes nurses, doctors, occupational therapists, social workers, peer support workers, and others. I work mostly with adults, trying to help them with their aches and pains as any physiotherapist would, but I also have a particular interest in using exercise to help people improve their mental health.

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  1. Can you tell us about your recent fundraising event?

I love cycling, as does my friend Fraser, so we decided to cycle Land’s End to John O’Groats for Alzheimer Scotland!

Our plan was to be as self-sufficient as possible; taking tents and sleeping bags, and to avoid busy roads by using the Sustrans cycle network wherever possible. This added a few miles to the route, but kept it safer and probably a bit more scenic. We ended up cycling 1080 miles over 9 and half days, and ascended 45000 feet along the way.

Everyone has been so generous in sponsoring us on our JustGiving page; in the end we’ll have raised well over £2000 for Alzheimer Scotland.

  1. What was the highlight of the name of the event in here?

It was all amazing (now that our aches have gone) – but for me a particular highlight was the bit from Aberfeldy to near Inverness – I’ve seen the cycle path beside the A9 so many times, and always wanted to ride it: We had a tail wind that helped us up and through the Drumochter pass and the Slocht pass, with just amazing scenery all around. The difference between cycling this route and driving it is near indescribable – the sense of scale being probably the most memorable aspect.

  1. What 5 photographs capture your journey the most?

Fraser was the photographer! And so here are his 5 favourites to outline our journey

DCIM139GOPRO

 

  1. Why did you choose Alzheimer Scotland to as your chosen charity?

Fraser and I have a shared friend whose mum has Dementia, and so it seems so very close to home (our mums are the same age), and I think that’s the rub of it; that everyone we spoke to along our journey and everyone who sponsored us have been so generous because they all know or know of someone who has been diagnosed with Dementia.

Finally, there are many of you who do fantastic fundraising for us and we would love to share some of your memorable photographs too – share them with us at @alzscot and find out how your fundraising support us here http://my.alzscot.org/how-your-support-helps/

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pic iGuy Whitehead , Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner

@guywyted

I am the Physio for the East Lothian Adult Joint Mental Health Team.  I work in the community providing Physiotherapy assessment and interventions to a broad range of people who are in touch with secondary care mental health services.  I also act as specialism lead across East and Midlothian, and work closely with my colleagues in Musculoskeletal, Inpatient and domiciliary Services.

“A blog a day blether” for #DAW2015

 

Allied Health Professionals Q&A

Day 1

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Hello & Welcome

During Dementia awareness week allied health professionals are posting a “blog a day” as a Q&A by four of our allied health professional colleagues.   We invited the Scottish Dementia Working Group (@S_D_W_G), National Dementia Carers Action Network and people we work with, to ask questions to a dietitian, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapy and a speech & language therapist. This is the first blog in our series of five and offers an introduction to our Q & A blog posts

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Day 1 Q & A

Three questions of my questions we were asked by the Scottish Dementia Working Group. The final question was asked at the Age Scotland member’s conference with colleagues Yolanda @Yol_ahp and Jenny @JennyAckland2.

Question 1

“How would we know about what services AHPs could provide for us if we hadn’t come to this meeting?”

Answer

You can find out more about each profession on their professional body website. Each one of the allied health professionals have their own professional body, standards of professional practice and can be contacted directly.  In our blog we include the links to these professional bodies in our “Useful Links” section.

You will also find contact details of AHP services in your local health board website where there maybe be a list of what services are available. Here is an example in NHS Lothian.

http://www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk/Services/A-Z/AlliedHealthProfessionals/Pages/default.aspx

You can also contact your local authority who can link you to the occupational therapists. Here is an example by Edinburgh Council http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20057/housing_support_and_advice/435/adapting_your_home

You will find a few of us on social media so you can connect with us there too. If you follow the hash tag #AHPDementia you will see some of us there. All our twitter handles are included in our contributors pages too.

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Question 2

“How do you know what you are entitled to and where to go to get help?”

Answer

One document you may want to look at for the allied health professionals is their Consensus Statement on Quality Service Values which brings together, for the first time, the minimum, collective service values of the Allied Health Professions into one clear statement and clarifies for service users what they can expect from Allied Health Professionals and Allied Health Professional service providers. You should expect to meet a group of professionals that are responsive, engaged, inclusive, safe, effective and most importantly person centred

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http://www.gov.scot/resource/0043/00438291.pdf

Added to that, all the allied health professionals in the health service and local authority will be registered to the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) www.hcpc-uk.org. HCPC are a regulator, who were set up to protect the public and they keep a Register of health and care professionals who meet their standards for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health. Use this website to ensure that any private AHP practitioner is a registered Allied Health Professional

More specifically to what you are “entitled” to if you are living with dementia, you could also look at the Standards of Care for Dementia in Scotland.  These standards have been developed to help people living with dementia and their carers understand their rights, and how these rights can help make sure that you receive the support you need to stay well, safe and listened to.  The standards are based on your rights. You should use them to get the care, treatment and support you need.

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Some extract from the standards that link to the role of allied health professionals

“Service providers will ensure that the actions of their staff and their policies and procedures demonstrate that staff use a variety of communication aids to help communication, including the use of life story books, talking mats, digital stories, interpreters as appropriate and referral to speech and language therapy”. (page 15)

“NHS Boards will ensure that a range of non-drug based interventions are available and include evidence based therapies, such as group based or individual cognitive stimulation, individual reality orientation therapy, art therapy, therapeutic activities and physical exercise programmes”. (page 25)

“All service providers will give people with dementia the support they need, wherever they are living, to continue to be involved in their ordinary activities such as; exercise, involvement in music, dance, social events and religious activity and to become involved in new activities and experiences”. (page 32)

http://www.gov.scot/Resource/Doc/350188/0117212.pdf

To ensure continuous improvement, the standards should be used in conjunction with Promoting Excellence: A framework for health and social care staff working with people with dementia and their carers. The framework outlines in detail the skills and knowledge health and social care staff should have depending on the role they play in supporting people with dementia. We aspire that all allied health professionals on graduation and in practice worked at the minimum of “skilled”.

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http://www.gov.scot/resource/doc/350174/0117211.pdf

Question 3

“The role of community psychiatric nurse is still seen as central for our members.  Do AHPs have close links with them? “

Answer

Allied health professionals build strong partnerships with other agencies, community providers and also other members of the multidisciplinary team both in the NHS and local authority.  This will also include our community psychiatric nurses, district nurses and more recently the Alzheimer Scotland Link workers too. So yes we do have close links with the community psychiatric nurse who you can ask to refer you to an allied health professional in your local area.

Question 4

“How do I get in touch with an AHP if I need one?””

Answer

This is a question we are asked a lot and we have developed a new leaflet to help answer this question. Today we launch our Alzheimer Scotland allied health professionals leaflet, click here to access the leaflet.

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Over the forthcoming weeks, this leaflet will be available in all our Alzheimer Scotland resource centres and directs you to how to get in touch with five of the allied health professions including dietitians, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatrists and speech and language therapy.

We have many other allied health professionals not included in this leaflet as this leaflet was about those you are most likely to see in a community setting. Email us at TalkingDementia@alzscot.org if you would like to hear more about arts therapies, orthoptists, paramedics, prothetists, orthotists and radiographers (diagnostic & radiographers) in Scotland and we will and offer you a link to these professions too.

What’s next in this week’s blog series?

Finally, over the remaining four’s days, we have a Q & A series of real questions from people living with dementia and their carers being answered by members of the Alzheimer Scotland allied health professions dementia expert group so look out for them and please join in our “blog a day blether” for #DAW2015.

 

We welcome ideas and comments from our readers this blog to any of the answers in case I have missed out anything.

Tomorrow’s blog will be by Gillian and “Ask a Dietitian” Q & A.

Elaine HunterElaine Hunter
Allied Health Professional Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland
@elaineahpmh 

My remit in Alzheimer Scotland is to bring the skills of AHPs to the forefront of dementia practice and to share with them the principles and practice of working in a major charity that is dedicated to “making sure nobody faces dementia alone”. I am leading the delivery of commitment 4 of Scotland’s Dementia Strategy. In short, a great job working with great people.

A snapshot of what an allied health professional can do for you

 “People with dementia will have the opportunity to be included in community life and meaningful activities as they wish.  All services will give people with dementia the support they need, wherever they are living, to continue to be involved in their ordinary activities such as exercise, involvement in music, dance, social events and religious activity and to become involved in new activities and experiences”

This is a direct quote from the Standards of Care for Dementia in Scotland (2011) and reminds us all that people with dementia can be involved in everyday activities, both old and new.

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The standard also states “services will give people with dementia the support they need”. In Scotland we invited my allied health professionals colleagues to share with us what they can do to support someone with dementia.  In this blog I am sharing a “snapshot” of how 5 of the allied health professions describe their role when working with people with dementia and their carers, partners and families.

Who are we?

Allied health professionals are registered therapists who can help when people are worried about their memory, if a person has a diagnosis of dementia or if someone in the family has dementia. They offer information, advice and treatment tailored to individual needs. They are experts in rehabilitation, focusing on strengths and assisting people to stay connected to their community and remain in their home for as long as possible. In no more than 50 words this is what they say they can do for you if you have a diagnosis of dementia or are caring for someone with dementia:

  • Dietitian – will help you to eat well
  • Occupational therapist – will help you take part in social activities, hobbies and interests that are important to you.
  • Physiotherapist – will help with physical activity
  • Podiatrists – will help you look after your feet
  • Speech and language therapists – will help you maintain everyday conversations

 

How can a dietitian help?

A dietitian can assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual level.  Uniquely, they use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical advice to help people make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.

 

How can an occupational therapists help?

The occupational therapist can help people to continue to do as much as they can in their daily lives, offering strategies to allow people to participate in social activities, hobbies and interests that are important to them. They understand the link between occupation and good health. They can advise people on small changes to the home environment to make life easier, recommending the right type of equipment to meet a person’s needs from memory equipment to kitchen equipment.

 

How can a physiotherapist help?

A physiotherapist can help if the person has difficulties with walking; experiencing falls or feel they are unable to access the activities they enjoy.   They can provide the person with advice on, or offer an exercise programme to improve strength and balance, equipment to help walking and help with accessing community services.

 

How can a podiatrist help?

Healthy, pain free feet are important in maintaining mobility and enabling people to engage in a range of activities and be an active member of the community. NHS Podiatry services are available for people who have a foot problem or have a medical condition requiring podiatric intervention. (Personal foot care such as toenail cutting is not provided by NHS Podiatry services).

 

How can a speech and language therapist help?

Speech and language therapists are experts in communication and interaction and help people who have difficulty with everyday conversations. They are also experts in eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties. The speech and language therapist’s aim is always to enable a person to participate to their full potential in their chosen activities.

We are collating this information, with a description of how to access these professions into a leaflet that will be available in the Alzheimer Scotland resources centres, on our mini bus, available from our link workers and will be in our offices throughout Scotland.  However we are really interested to know, when living with dementia or caring for someone with dementia “what matters to you and how can we help?”

Elaine HunterElaine Hunter
Allied Health Professional Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland
@elaineahpmh 

My remit in Alzheimer Scotland is to bring the skills of AHPs to the forefront of dementia practice and to share with them the principles and practice of working in a major charity that is dedicated to “making sure nobody faces dementia alone”. I am leading the delivery of commitment 4 of Scotland’s Dementia Strategy. In short, a great job working with great people.