Livewell Southwest is celebrating Allied Health Professions (AHPs) Day today, (Wednesday, 14 October) by thanking all of our AHPs for their dedication to delivering outstanding health and social care.
AHPs Day enables the 14 allied health professions to come together and recognise the contribution of AHPs, and a chance to get to know more about the role that these valued professionals play.
AHPs are now the second-largest healthcare workforce with significant opportunities to support delivery of the NHS long term plan and play a vital role in caring for the people we support to live healthy, independent lives at Livewell Southwest.
Helen Newman-Allen, AHP Lead at Livewell, said: “I want to thank all my colleagues for their tireless work and dedication during a challenging year, from our 12 unique professions that make up our AHP family here at Livewell: art therapists, drama therapists, music therapists, chiropodists / podiatrists, dietitians, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, prosthetists and orthotists, paramedics, physiotherapists, and speech and language therapists.
“It’s a huge privilege to work with you all and I look forward to another year of phenomenal work in 2021.”
COVID-19 has changed the way many AHPs work, but it hasn’t stopped the Specialist Speech and Language Therapists in our Community Learning Disabilities Team from supporting the people they care for. They’ve been busy creating lots of accessible and easy read advice so they can continue to help people with things they find difficult, such as healthy eating, personal care and how to manage daily challenges.
The team created a Stay Well at Home pack, including resources to help the people they care for stay safe and make the most of time at home. The pack included things such as easy read story books, which included individual daily plans and activities chosen by the person receiving care.
Andrew is a service user, and said: “It was good. The story makes me feel happy. The book helped me understand coronavirus. The symbols were good. I had lots of activities to choose from. I liked picking them myself and putting them on my timetable.”
The team also created calm boxes with their service users. The calm box contained items that made them feel happy and things that help relaxation.
Lauren, a Personal Assistant, said: “The calm box was a great project for Andrew, from making it to getting a better understanding of what helps him relax and remain calm. It gave him a good sense of control too. We haven’t had to use the box yet, but it’s nice to have that resource if Andrew got upset or anxious.
“The creating process was a great learning experience for me, to better understand Andrew’s likes and dislikes, and also provided the time to talk about his past and growth.”
Speech and Language Therapists are also a part of our Allied Health Professions family here at Livewell, and support adults with speech, language, communication, eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties.
The team support people who have suffered a stroke, traumatic brain injury, have dementia, a diagnosis of cancer in the brain, and those with a diagnosis of neurological conditions such as Motor neurone disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
Speech and Language Therapists work with the person to identify their speech or swallowing difficulty, and how they can work together to get the best outcomes and improve quality of life.
During COVID, the Speech and Language team have helped the people staying with them to keep in contact with their loved ones using video calls and digital options.
Service users have also been supported to access assessment and therapy via video calls using the Livewell Connect app, which has been really successful.
Upcoming plans include the development of a virtual Parkinson’s therapy group.
Jonathan Gilby is a Physiotherapist at Livewell, and enjoys the opportunity to take on research projects as part of his role. He values the information research provides to find improvements in practice.
Jonathan said: “I helped out with the ‘Trial of Wii in Stroke’ (TWIST) project in 2013, and that really got me interested in research.
“Working as a research therapist on this study was a great way of gaining understanding of how a research project is delivered.
“A few more Livewell projects down the line and I was successful in applying for Health Education England funding of a Masters in Clinical Research from the University of Plymouth.
“I’ve done this part-time and, as I come to the end of my dissertation project, it’s opened up another door to a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship.
“I’m now working closely with the Parkinson’s Service at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust; exploring service delivery models to help people with Parkinson’s manage their condition.
“It’s been a challenging but rewarding journey so far. Juggling academic life and busy clinical practice can be difficult. Keeping in touch with how research is done and the implications of research for practice is going to become even more important as we try to find more effective and efficient ways of working.”
There’ll be lots of activity throughout the day on our social media channels, so do follow #AHPsDay for more insights.