Allied health professionals come from a range of disciplines like dietitians, optometrists, diabetic educators, podiatrists and exercise physiologists. They have an essential role in the prevention, management and treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD). They have the specialized knowledge, skills and enabling approach that allows people with kidney disease to live well and reduce the impact and long term consequences of kidney failure.
Allied health professionals have expertise in working with individuals to promote self-management skills with a focus on optimizing wellness and health independence. These skills are essential for people to participate fully in the management of their CKD.
For example appropriate management of type 2 diabetes should involve a range of allied health professionals. Diabetes educators, dietitians and in some cases exercise physiologists may provide regular and ongoing support, while others such as podiatrists or optometrists would normally provide annual checkups to monitor any potential side effects from the condition.
Similarly dietitians play an important role in managing your diet in kidney disease with appropriate advise and education regarding intake of sodium (common salt), potassium, phosphate and overall nutrition.
It is important to talk to your GP to get referral to appropriate allied health services. To access Medicare rebates your GP must complete a GP management plan and establish appropriate team care arrangements. You can also access Medicare rebates for allied health services if you are enrolled as a Health Care Home patient. Private health insurance covers some allied health services, but the level of rebate and allied health services covered will depend on the individual policy and level of cover.
Allied health services may also be available through community health services, or local programs funded by Primary Health Networks (PHNs). These typically prioritize people who may not be able to afford the cost of services.
Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA), https://ahpa.com.au/about-ahpa/