Allied Health Professions are a distinct group of health professionals who apply their expertise to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate people of all ages and all specialities. Together with a range of technical and support staff they may deliver direct patient care, rehabilitation, treatment, diagnostics and health improvement interventions to restore and maintain optimal physical, sensory, psychological, cognitive and social functions.
This inclusive grouping, which can account for up to 60% of all health professionals in some countries, provides professional leadership, governance, supervision and professional development that will assure appropriate credentialing and quality of patient care. Allied Health makes a significant contribution to health system strengthening, including primary care, and the communities with whom they work. [ICHPO Consensus Statement: June 2012]
An occupational therapist (OT) is trained in the practice of occupational therapy. The role of an occupational therapist is to work with a client to help them achieve a fulfilled and satisfied state in life through the use of "purposeful activity or interventions designed to achieve functional outcomes which promote health, prevent injury or disability and which develop, improve, sustain or restore the highest possible level of independence." A practical definition for OT can also be illustrated with the use of models such as the Occupational Performance Model (Australia), known as the OPM(A). At the core of this approach is the ideology that occupational therapists are concerned with the occupations of people and how these contribute to health. Specifically it is a person’s occupational performance that influences their health and personal satisfaction of their individual needs. The OPM(A) is constructed on the following definition of Occupational Performance:
The ability to perceive, desire, recall, plan and carry out roles, routines, tasks and sub-tasks for the purpose of self-maintenance, productivity, leisure and rest in response to demands of the internal and/or external environment.
Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development. Central to its practice are psychological assessment and psychotherapy, although clinical psychologists also engage in research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and administration. In many countries, clinical psychology is regulated as a health care profession.
The field is often considered to have begun in 1896 with the opening of the first psychological clinic at the University of Pennsylvania by Lightner Witmer. In the first half of the 20th century, clinical psychology was focused on psychological assessment, with little attention given to treatment. This changed after the 1940s when World War II resulted in the need for a large increase in the number of trained clinicians. Since that time, two main educational models have developed—the Ph.D. scientist–practitioner model (requiring a doctoral dissertation and therefore research as well as clinical expertise) and, in the U.S. the Psy.D. practitioner–scholar model.
Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), also known as physiatry // or rehabilitation medicine, is a branch of medicine that aims to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to those with physical impairments or disabilities. A physician having completed training in this field is referred to as a physiatrist or rehabilitation medicine specialist. Physiatrists specialize in restoring optimal function to people with injuries to the muscles, bones, tissues, and nervous system (such as stroke patients).
Occupational therapy, often called OT, is the use of treatments to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of people with a physical, mental or developmental condition. Occupational therapy is a client-centered practice that places a premium on the progress towards the client’s goals. Occupational therapy interventions focus on adapting the environment, modifying the task, teaching the skill, and educating the client/family in order to increase participation in and performance of daily activities, particularly those that are meaningful to the client.