The Role of Allied Health for People Living with Motor Neurone Disease

“Those living with any life limiting disease, and in this instance MND, are very keen to remain independent, achieve their goals, live life to the full and are therefore very motivated to participate in rehabilitation. In many instances they request assistance, however in some cases, patients and families do not know of these benefits and struggle by themselves with little or no support. There is also a lack of understanding about the role of each allied health professional, both by medical / nursing professionals and in the general public. I believe this requires addressing on a political, educational and funding basis..read more

For a start, we will like to introduce 7 allied health professions to everyone and summarise some of their work as provided by the CareSearch News article.

  1. Social Worker
    • supporting with applications to government and non-profit agencies, health services for subsidies, benefits or allowances; exploring available assistance
    • provide strengths-based supportive counselling with some problem solving, relaxation and mindfulness
    • facilitate a family meeting to foster their understanding of patient’s condition
  2. Psychologist / Counsellor
    • reducing the psychological burden of disease for the patient and managing caregiver stress
    • providing patients with space to communicate and express their feelings, promoting their ability to self direct treatment in aid of regaining some sense of control over their life, and supporting them to live in the present
  3. Dietician
    • provide ways to ensure that patient’s nutrition and fluid requirements are met within the limitations of new diet texture,slow eating rate
    • provided advice on increasing nutrient density and frequency of meals, as well as overcoming the bland and unpalatable look of the food
    • assessed patient condition regularly and advise on feeding regimen to meet nutritional needs safely
  4. Physiotherapist
    • Focussed on maintaining and improving patient’s functioning to a level that could allow for discharge home through “mini-routines”, or supplementary “items” such as compression stockings
    • assist with symptom relief to maintain some patient control over body and disease
  5. Speech pathologist
    • advise and provide communication devices, also known as augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, that are tailored to each individual to ensure patients are able to communicate with others
  6. Occupational Therapist
    • understand disease characteristics, prognosis, physical and cognitive presentation, as well as subsequent functional difficulties to provide relief
    • examples include pressure care and pain management, use of technology, home modifications
  7. Music therapist
    • provide psychosocial support and relaxation
    • provide patient with the opportunity to engage with others in a way that honoured his sense of personhood, regardless of his diagnosis and symptoms

From CARESEARCH Newsletter