Fitness and Allied Health Professionals
Why partnering up is important
Making partnerships with allied health is more important than ever!
The new version of the Certificate III & IV in Fitness and the Diploma are due for release in a few weeks. The qualifications are reviewed and updated every few years to ensure they retain current information about the latest training methodologies.
The content included in the new version of the qualifications raises several questions around how we work in partnership with allied health professionals. For those of you who are already PTs and registered with Fitness Australia you would be aware of the work they have done in setting up alliances with organisations including ESSA (Exercise and Sports Science Australia), SDA (Sports Dietitians Australia), DAA (Dietitians Association of Australia) and APA (Australian Physiotherapy Association). For example, Fitness Australia worked closely with ESSA to develop the Adult Pre-Exercise Screening Tool which is the recommended template for fitness professionals when screening and assessing new clients.
Most fitness professionals use the screening tool or a similar form of assessment to identify whether their clients have existing health and medical conditions that can impact on their training. If they identify a problem, they reach out to their allied health networks to:
- Refer the client on to obtain a clear diagnosis of the condition
- Find out more information about the condition to assist them in training the client appropriately
- Involve them in the range of services offered to the client and obtain guidelines around the type of exercise and activity to include in their program
When fitness and allied health professionals liaise in this manner there are significant benefits to all parties. The clients obtain a far more comprehensive level of service that addresses their individual needs. The fitness professional receives guidance from the allied health professional on the most appropriate exercise and activity for the client and the health professional receives ongoing feedback on the progress of the client. The end result is that the client will improve their health and wellbeing while managing the medical condition.
The 2013 Fitness Australia Workforce report identified there were 3.31 million users of fitness services in 2011. Thirty one percent of these were over 45 years in age and 17% over 55 years.
With the population ageing and increasingly becoming unhealthy across all ages, fitness professionals are working with clients who have existing ailments. Most fitness professionals who have been in the industry for a period of time have networks with allied health professionals and work with them very effectively. For PTs new to the industry starting to make these connections is essential. We need to continue developing pathways for fitness professionals to learn more about the health issues of their clients and ways in which you can partner with allied health to ensure better health outcomes for clients.
Written by Steve Hore – AFA Managing Director
References Fitness Industry Workforce Report 2010-2020: Supply and demand of exercise professionals in Australia
Published: 3 March 2013 Updated: 14 September 2014 By Deloitte Access Economics