Responsibilities of an Allied Health Professional

A health professional has a responsibility to the interests of patients/clients and the community ahead of the interests of their colleagues, themselves and their profession.

A health professional has a responsibility to:

  • display respect, integrity and responsibility with colleagues, supervisors, students, research participants, community members, employers and all other parties whom they encounter in the line of duty;
  • work towards achieving justice in the provision of health care for all people;
  • ensure he/she maintains relevant knowledge and competence to provide safe and effective services;
  • ensure he/she practices in accordance with, and maintains current knowledge of, his/her statutory obligations; and
  • contribute to  his/her profession through activities such as training and mentoring, serving on health profession boards, and providing expert advice upon request.

Ability to consent to, request and receive health services

There are several conditions or situations in which patients/clients may have limited competence or limited ability to make independent decisions about their health care – for example, people with dementia, or acute conditions that temporarily affect competence, and children or young people. Under the HPA Act, a health professional must make a professional judgment whether a person is of sufficient age, and of sufficient mental and emotional capacity to understand the nature of a health service, and sufficiently competent to give consent to a health service being provided in a particular situation.

In general, where the health professional judges that a person is of sufficient age, and of sufficient mental and emotional capacity to understand the nature of a health service, and sufficiently competent to give consent to a health service being provided, then he or she should be able to request and provide informed consent to receive health services without the consent of a parent, guardian or other legal representative.

Where the health professional does not consider that a person is of sufficient age, and of sufficient mental and emotional capacity to understand the nature of a health service, and sufficiently competent to give informed consent to receive health services, then the health professional should ensure a parent, guardian or other legal representative acts on behalf of the person.

Communication

 

Effective and appropriate communication with patients/clients, carers, other health professionals and other members of the community is a fundamental requirement in the provision of allied health care services.

  • A health professional must provide the patient/client with sufficient information to ensure the patient/client is able to participate as actively as possible and respond appropriately to the information.
  • A health professional must explain the nature of the health care being proposed, what its purpose is, its possible positive and adverse consequences, its limitations, and reasonable alternative wherever they exist.
  • A health professional must communicate appropriately with, and provide relevant information to other stakeholders including members of the treating team.
  • A health professional must utilize effective and flexible communication in a manner appropriate for the reader or listener.
  • A health professional must utilize appropriate interpreters for those who clearly require assistance because they are non-English speakers, have English as a second language, or are speech and/or hearing impaired.  Wherever possible, trained translators and interpreters should be used rather than family members or other staff.

 

Professional Boundaries

The relationship between an allied health professional and a patient/client is not one of equality as the patient/client is seeking assistance and guidance.  Patient/clients perceive a power differential between themselves and the treating health professional and as such any exploitation of the relationship must be considered as an abuse of power.

  • A health professional shall behave responsibly at all times and maintain professional boundaries with patients/clients.
  • A health professional must avoid dual relationships that may exploit patients/clients or other parties.
  • Where a health professional identifies the potential for a violation of professional boundaries, the health professional should immediately refer the patient/client to a suitably qualified health professional.

Fees

Patients/clients should be made aware of, and agree to all the fees and charges involved in a course of treatment, prior to the health service being provided.

Discussion of fees should be in a manner appropriate to the professional relationship and should include discussion about the cost of all required services and general agreement as to the level of treatment to be provided.

Use of titles

A health professional wishing to use a title must ensure that he or she is not using the term in a way that may mislead or deceive clients/patients.

A health professional shall only use a title that reflects professional qualifications which have been authorized by the Allied Health Council Board.

Business names or titles must only give the impression that the nominee is an expert in an area of practice when the health professional is recognized by the Allied Health Council Board, or where this is not regulated, acknowledged by his or her peers as having relevant special expertise in the form of skills, knowledge, training or qualifications

Penalty for Non-compliance of the HPA Act No. 33 of 2006

Under the HPA Act 2006 Section 88, states that” a person shall not practice as an allied health practitioner in any allied health profession or hold himself or herself out to be an allied health practitioner unless the person is registered as an allied health practitioner pursuant to this Part and complies with this Act and Regulations and the conditions of registration.  Section 3 further states that” a person who contravenes – commits an offense and is liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars or to imprisonment for the term not exceeding three years.

Name of Health Professional

A health professional shall only practice using the same name as the one under which they are registered.

Scope of Practice

Although the scope of practice of health professions cannot be restricted as this has the potential to limit innovative approaches to practice, it is important that individual health professionals restrict their practice to that defined by the Allied Health Council Board and do not engage in practices in which they are unskilled or practices that are unsafe.

A health professional shall restrict his or her practice to the scope of his or her profession according to current knowledge and competency standards unless he or she has completed appropriate training, or is undertaking supervised practice, in an area of extended scope.

A health professional is obliged to inform patients/clients about his or her training and experience in situations where the patient/client might, if well informed, choose to receive a second opinion or to request a referral to a more suitably qualified or experienced health professional.

A health professional moving from one area of practice to another must demonstrate that he or she has undertaken sufficient supervised practice and/or other training from professional colleagues to achieve competency in that particular aspect of their profession.

A health profession shall practice in accordance with the current and accepted evidence based on his or her profession, including clinical outcomes.

Conflict Resolution and Complaints Management

A health professional, who believes on reasonable grounds that another health professional contravened, or is contravening, the required standard of practice, or a suitability to practice requirement; and:

  • The contravention does not relate to an administrative matter; and
  • The contravention has had, or likely to have a substantial effect on a member of the public, must report this to the Allied Health Council .  Health professionals have a responsibility to ensure the repot is not of a vexatious nature prior to contracting the Allied Health Council .

When a health professional is informed by a patient/client that another health professional has violated professional boundaries, he or she has an obligation to encourage the patient/client to make a complaint to the Allied Health Council  if the behavior has, or likely to have, a substantial effect on the patient/client.




Contact Us
The Executive Director
Allied Health Council
National Mental Health & Wellness Centre,
2nd Floor Neurological Dept.,
Millennium Highway,
Castries, St.Lucia, W.I

Conway Post Office,
Conway Business Centre,
Waterfront,
Castries, St.Lucia.W.I
Tel:(758)458-2102
Email:info@alliedhealthcouncilslu.org
or ahpcstlucia@gmail.com

Promoting Health and Wellness!