Celebrating our AHPs
14 Oct 2020, 10:35 a.m.
Allied health professionals (AHPs) give treatment to rehabilitate patients. There are 14 types of AHPs, from music therapists to radiographers. At GOSH we have 282 AHPs that span seven specialties. Let’s take a look at the varying roles!
Radiographers provide imaging to help plan surgeries and investigate tumours. GOSH has a big team of radiographers who are involved in the journey of most patients. They work with many different teams and specialties to get a good overall view of a patient’s experience. Excitingly, radiographers get to use some of the newest technology and innovative techniques to set the standards for paediatric radiography.
Career-wise, radiographers are supported by radiologists who are happy to support role extension and encourage members of staff reporting brain scans in MRI, inserting central venous lines and changing GJ tubes.
Dietetics is the science of how food and nutrition affect health. GOSH has 40 dietitians (plus dietetic assistants) who provide expert consultation on nutrition in health and disease for patients, their carers and the team involved in their treatment. In the photo above, the team hold words that best describe the qualities of a dietitian.
The team help patients with conditions where dietary management and nutritional support can treat the disorder and/or its effects. They also give nutritional advice to the multidisciplinary team involved in patient care.
When a patient with complex dietary requirements is discharged, the team educate and support patients and carers about their dietary management and liaise with healthcare professionals in the community to keep treatment consistent.
The physio team work across the hospital’s many specialties. They provide a high standard of assessment and treatment to all children and young people, including those with rare and complex diagnoses. They work closely with multidisciplinary teams to facilitate the best possible care of the patient. They have a strong culture of education and research within physiotherapy and have strong links with secondary and community services and other physiotherapy teams throughout the UK.
Orthoptists treat patients with a wide range of conditions affecting their vision. These conditions could include blurred, oscillating or double vision, or outward signs like misalignment or uncontrolled movement of the eyes. Treatment involves eye patches, eye exercises, prisms or glasses to correct these conditions.
Within Great Ormond Street Hospital Orthoptists work closely with the Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and the Vision Science Team to assess and monitor their patients. The team also works with patients with neurological conditions like stroke or craniofacial disorders, brain tumours and epilepsy as part of a wider multi professional team. The role of the orthoptists has expanded and the team continue to train and study to gain an even wider knowledge base. This enables them to perform much more specialist, advanced or extended roles.
Meet Katya, the first full-time music therapist at GOSH. Katya works with patients to create a fun, interactive musical connection, then build on this to achieve longer term goals. Goals might include helping a child or young person develop their coping skills, work on their communication, cognitive, or motor skills through music, or increase their ability to express how they’re feeling.
A typical session might include the use of familiar songs, improvised music making, sensory play and other forms of musical creativity. Every activity is tailored to the individual child, focusing on what they can do, rather than any limitations they may experience.
“It’s my job to help young people find joy, resilience and empowerment through music. The best bit of my job when I get to watch a young person find their voice through music - or find a new way for that voice to be heard. It’s an incomparable experience, and one I constantly feel lucky to be a part of,” she says.
Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs)
SLTs at GOSH work with children and young people who have difficulties with their communication and feeding. Communication difficulties include problems with speech, voice, understanding and using spoken language and/or social communication. These difficulties may be associated with a condition or syndrome such as a hearing impairment, cleft palate, craniofacial condition, autism or epilepsy.
SLTs work in many areas throughout the hospital. They assess the safety of children’s swallow, assess and treat complex speech disorders, measure progress in children’s language skills post-epilepsy surgery and provide therapy to help children to listen as well as possible with cochlear implants. They also work with children who are unable to communicate effectively through speech and may need alternatives such as picture pointing or iPads which speak aloud once the child has selected their message.
Operation Department Practitioners (ODPs)
At GOSH there are over 45 ODPs who work in all areas of theatres, as well as in anxiety management, EPR, risk, and simulation. Their skills and abilities mirror the nursing profession, but they specialise in the operating department.
ODP Ivona says: “The best part of being an ODP is working in a truly multidisciplinary team. Once everyone has donned their scrubs, hats and mask, the hierarchy dissipates and everyone is working towards the same goal which is to make sure the patient is safe and has the best care that we can provide.”
Meet Philippa, Chief of Allied Health Professionals
My role as Chief of Allied Health Professionals is to bring the AHPs together at GOSH and highlight our unique contribution to patient care. We have a skilled AHP workforce that delivers highly specialised treatments, tests and therapies and it’s essential that this is visible and recognised. My responsibility therefore is to help us work in a coordinated way to provide information that raises our visibility and impact and also to ensure that we are included in all the new exciting work streams associated with the Trust’s new strategy ‘ Above and Beyond’.
Meet Ali, Allied Health Information Officer (AIO).
I work within the Transformation Directorate as part of a wider multi-disciplinary team of Nursing, Medical & Pharmacy Information Officers alongside Electronic Patient record, project & change management specialists. I started my AHP journey as a Paediatric OT, this alongside additional leadership and project management training supports me when trying to understand and represent varying clinical perspectives and patient needs when considering optimisation of current digital platforms such as Epic and when collaborating with Allied services in order to plan and roll out new digital solutions & projects.
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