Across Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) there are over 3,400 allied health professionals working in a variety of roles with patients across the lifespan and in every location where health care is provided: in the community, public health, long-term care, home health, rehabilitation and acute care.
Oct. 14, 2021, marks International Allied Health Professions Day, and the Ministry of Health-Allied Health Policy Secretariat is excited to announce that it will be acknowledging and celebrating this day of recognition.
This will be a first for the Province of B.C. to formally recognize the broad range of professions that make up the allied health workforce and the critical role they play in our health system.
Much like a symphony's sound is richer with many instruments in the orchestra, allied health professionals are specially trained and play crucial roles within health care teams to provide holistic care for the patients they serve. Allied health professions include those that are both regulated and unregulated. Each allied health profession is based on a distinct body of knowledge and has a specific scope of practice or evidence-informed role.
These health care professionals work in clinical and diagnostic roles, as educators or leaders, supporting best practices for their profession, and doing research to advance patient care and treatment approaches. Each profession makes an important contribution to the unique bio-psycho-social-spiritual health promotion, assessment, diagnostics, intervention and treatment of patients, clients and residents they serve, with the common goal of improving health outcomes and supporting healthy communities.
Throughout the pandemic, allied health professionals have been instrumental in treating patients with COVID-19 and supporting the provincial pandemic response. From treating patients on ventilators to mobilizing patients in in-patient and rehabilitation settings, supporting the transition of hospitalized patients back to home and community settings, supporting residents in long-term care facilities during outbreaks, and supporting post-COVID patients in dealing with the symptoms of “long COVID", allied health professionals have played a key role during the pandemic. We want to thank all the allied health professionals who continue to work tirelessly to provide excellent patient care to all of our patients, clients and residents and recognize them on Allied Health Professions Day.
Jenny Puterman is an Inpatient Social Worker at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre working with the Neuromuscular (NMS) Program and helps provide coverage on the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Program.
She works closely with a multidisciplinary team to help clients adjust to their new situation, maximize their independence and work towards a safe return to their home community.
“I always feel supported by my team when I have clinical issues to discuss," she says. “There is not one staff person here who does not care deeply about the work we're doing to support our clients."
Alexandra Melanson is a Medical Radiation Technologist (MRT) working at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and says, “I love the pace and the variety of cases we see and how radiology sees patients from start to finish."
She has worked in a few radiology departments and specialties for MRTs, and CT (computerized tomography) is the newest modality for her to train in.
“I love learning and CT allows me to play a different role in a patient's journey with an expanded scope of practice and skills," she says.
Kimberley Eggert is a Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) at the Central Community Health Centre in North Vancouver working with young children up to five years old, assessing, diagnosing, and providing intervention with various communication difficulties. She enjoys working directly with her clients, their parents and seeing the progress her clients make.
“I greatly enjoy sharing the joy with parents at the accomplishments of their young children. I also really enjoy collaborating with my colleagues, students and other professionals in the community," she says.
A strong health care system relies on the diversity and the expertise of team members all working together to achieve the best outcomes and VCH is incredibly proud and thankful for all the health care professionals working in allied health roles and their dedication to providing exceptional patient care across the spectrum.