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Allied Health Therapy Assistant

What is Allied Health? 
Allied Health refers to the clinical healthcare professions found throughout hospitals, aged care facilities, community care and clinics.
The people in these roles support the primary medical teams of doctors, nurses and dentists.
Some of the professions commonly found in Allied Health include:
  • Audiology
  • Exercise physiology
  • Music therapy
  • Nutrition / dietetics
  • Occupational therapy
  • Optometry
  • Chiropractics 
  • Orthotics and prosthetics
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Speech pathology
Expectations of an Allied Health Therapy Assistant
A Therapy Assistant supports the efforts of Allied Health professionals. They work directly with clients and other care staff. Their work includes visiting clients, preparing written and verbal reports, and helping clients with personal care tasks.  Work may be conducted in the home of the client, in an aged care facility, or in a clinical setting.
Therapy Assistants are not qualified to diagnose conditions or prescribe treatment. They work under the direction of professional staff such as doctors, social workers, physiotherapists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, diversional therapists, home economists and nurses.
Tasks the Therapy Assistant may expect to perform:
·         Provide ongoing therapy, as directed
·         Contribute to the general care and comfort of patients, residents and clients
·         Guide and assist patients in the performance of craft, recreational and leisure activities
·         Assist in the training of disabled persons in self-care and daily living activities
·         Help patients with routine physiotherapy or hydrotherapy exercises, for individuals or in group setting
·         Report actions taken, client progress and any unusual circumstances encountered or witnessed
Personal Qualities
·         Mature and responsible
·         Respectful of the rights of others
·         Caring, patient, understanding and calm
·         Good people skills with the ability to relate well to the sick and frail
·         Accommodating to different personalities and abilities of residents
 
Specialisations
Because Allied Health contains a broad range of disciplines, many different opportunities exist for people interested in Therapy Assistant positions, and also in further extension courses and career pathways in Allied Health.
Community Health Nursing Assistant
Enabling people to live in their own homes, a community health nursing assistant provides care for the sick, aged or disabled in their private residences. The responsibilities of this role include personal and hygiene care such as dressing, bathing and showering. Ensuring clients maintain a healthy diet is also part of this role.
Occupational Therapy Assistant
With a goal to improve the safety and independence of each client, an occupational therapy assistant works under the direction of an occupational therapist. The role consists of constructing, adjusting, and fitting aids and equipment including splints. They also assist clients in self-care, daily living skills, diversional and other rehabilitation activities. Care is delivered in both private residences and clinical settings.  
Physiotherapy Assistant
A physiotherapy assistant helps clients with exercise and rehabilitation programs. The job entails demonstration, guidance and adjustment of the usage of rehabilitation equipment. Patients may require help with self-care as part of their therapy. A physiotherapy assistant also helps with moving patients within their homes or to hospitals or other places of treatment.
Speech Pathology Assistant
 A speech pathology assistant provides speech therapy to clients. Prior to the start of therapy, all clients are assessed by a speech pathologist who devises a suitable program. Duties include training clients in the use of electronic and non-electronic alternative communication systems. Preparing the equipment for client use is also part of the role.