Almost nine in 10 Illawarra NDIS participants require ongoing support with daily activities

Almost nine in 10 of the Illawarra’s 5,844 National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants require ongoing support with daily activities, while one in eight (12 per cent) need access to specialised accommodation or assistance to live independently. (National Disability Insurance Agency)

The Illawarra has a substantial population living with a disability, equating to almost six per cent of the total NSW NDIS participants.  Importantly, this population requires timely access to customised care and support plans to be able to function independently.

Illawarra-based support worker, Tim, 34, has dedicated the past two years to working with HCA Home. He loves being able to “give back to the community”, and enabling his clients to lead more comfortable, fulfilling lives.

In November 2018, Tim was assigned to provide disability support care to Warrilla resident, Barry, 56, who has lived with a life-long intellectual disability, which was further compounded by a stroke in October 2018. The stroke subsequently rendered Barry with limited movement on the right side of his body, and left him nursing home-bound, given his house is not wheelchair accessible. 

Since Tim was assigned to help care for, and support Barry following his stroke last year, he has worked hard to ensure his client’s needs are met, and that he is heard, and understood. 

“Barry relies on me to help keep his life on track, by coordinating his medical appointments and prioritising his general health and wellbeing-related needs. But my support tends to extend beyond just this.

“We plan our time together around meeting Barry’s goals and needs, and importantly, what Barry enjoys spending his time doing,” said Tim.

“When I first met Barry, he was quiet and reserved, and was finding it hard to adjust to the additional physical limitations to his abilities following his stroke.

“Since I’ve been working with Barry, his attitude toward his physical limitations has greatly improved, and he has begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Tim said.

More than 85 per cent of Australians who have a disability experience specific limitations or restrictions that affect their education or employment, and/or limitations with core activities, such as communication, mobility or self-care. Yet concerningly, one in eight (13 per cent) who require help with healthcare-related activities have no source of assistance (either formal or informal).

As an NDIS participant, Barry not only considers his support worker, Tim, to be a companion, but together, they consistently work towards improving Barry’s health, muscle function, and independence, to enable his integration back into the community.

With Tim’s support, Barry is now managing his own finances. He is for the first time, learning about budgeting and saving to cover his rent and travel expenses. Barry has also recently returned to work at his previous workplace.

“Tim helps me do things around the house, and takes me to places that I need to go.

“He has been showing me how to use a mobile phone, use my money better, and to catch the bus, which I’m getting better at,” said Barry.

“Tim comes to work with me too, to support me in case I need some help.”

According to General Manager of the NSW based, Illawarra disability service provider, HCA Home,  Mr Russell Shewan, timely, patient-centred care and customised support plans are critical to enabling those living with a disability, to function independently, perform daily tasks, and participate in social activities. These critical supports help to improve a person’s overall health and wellbeing, and to boost their satisfaction with healthcare services.

“Developing a comprehensive understanding of an individual’s needs is also key to the provision of optimal care. Personalised care and support plans can help improve a person’s physical and psychological wellbeing, and their ability to manage more independently.

“At HCA Home, our extensive regional healthcare and support workforce is dedicated to developing customised care plans that enable the delivery of quality, in-home support and community access to NDIS participants, their families and carers,” Mr Shewan said.

“We assign each support worker to a specific client after marrying the client’s personality type, individual needs and interests, with the support worker’s traits, skillset and experience/expertise.”

HCA Home delivers the following three key services:

1. Personal services – assistance for everyday activities both inside and outside the home.

2. Allied services – provision of access to multidisciplinary care.

3. Community access – to help participants engage with their friends and local community, learn new skills, participate in social and recreational activities, travel on public transport, and stay connected.

To learn more about HCA, head to www.hcahome.com.au, call 1300 422 111 or follow @HCAHome on Facebook and Instagram.

To download a free NDIS guide, visit https://www.hcahome.com.au/ndis-guide-download/.

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