Helping an NDIS Participant Plan for an Independent Future

A young black disabled woman with a wheelchair and a bright colored sweater and her Asian friend walk around the city.

Vista Healthcare recently carried out an assessment for a client who is living with cerebral palsy.

Identifying additional supports

This was an interesting case because, while our Occupational Therapist was initially contacted to oversee a bathroom modification, the initial assessment revealed other – more pressing – needs that we could help with.

As a result, our role evolved into educating the client and his family around how to access the right supports to pre-empt his needs and ensure that he continues to thrive independently as he moves into older age.

This is something we are very passionate about. Our mission at Vista Healthcare is to help people to understand and connect with the supports that are available to them, so this case was particularly meaningful for us.

Conducting an initial assessment

The client, a forty-year-old man based in Quakers Hill, is an NDIS participant with a self-managed fund. He is high-functioning and maintains significant independence while living with his parents. He works part time and uses public transport regularly to go to work and social events.

We carried out a comprehensive Occupational Therapy assessment to look at the need for:

  • Home modifications (including the bathroom area)
  • Assistive equipment
  • Physiotherapy requirements

It was clear that this client was doing very well in many ways. His upstairs living quarters, including the bathroom, could be accessed safely and independently and he was generally happy with the existing features. While a full bathroom remodel was not covered by NDIS funding, there were some modifications that would prove helpful and that could be undertaken straight away. These included:

  • A handrail for added support/safety
  • A modification to the existing shower recess.

Top benefits of a comprehensive approach

Our comprehensive initial assessment demonstrated that, while the client was high-functioning with significant independence, he would also benefit from other supports including:

  • A lightweight electric wheelchair
  • An ongoing physiotherapy plan.

For example, the client was able to do his own grocery shopping with the help of a wheelchair. However, his wheelchair was manually operated and caused significant fatigue. This affected not just his independence but also his ability to do recreational outings that he loved (such as visits to Luna Park).

A senior male patient sitting and exercising his hand with a physical therapy device next to a occupational therapist.

 Our recommendation for an electric wheelchair was based on the following:

  • The client’s gait issues (including involuntary movements and stability issues) put muscles under pressure and contribute to fatigue.
  • The client lives in a very hilly area and currently has to phone his parents to pick him up when the inclines are too taxing in a manual wheelchair.
  • The client is very independent: he has a high level of cognitive function and likes to be able to do things for himself

Ongoing Physiotherapy was also identified as an important factor in maintaining his current levels of mobility and functionality. While the client had received Physiotherapy in the past, he did not have any ongoing physiotherapy plan and had not applied for funding through the NDIS.

Information for the NDIS plan review

The client’s NDIS plan is due for review in September. With this in mind, our Occupational Therapist discussed the importance of these additional supports, and how to apply for additional funding at the upcoming review.

We know this client is very happy with our comprehensive approach to their needs. We drew their attention to additional therapies and assistive equipment that they had not previously considered; they informed us that, because of our input, they will be applying for more NDIS support than they have in the past.

Teenage Granddaughter Helping Grandmother With Crossword Puzzle

Providing supports for the future

As September approaches, we will follow up with this client to provide any further functional assessments they may require. We can also provide further documentation in support of the application, if needed.

If the application is successful, Vista Healthcare can help with trialling electronic wheelchairs and training the client on how to use it safely. (This will generally include elements such as hazard perception, and safely navigating up and down hills).

We are delighted to be playing such a significant role in supporting the client’s physical wellbeing, ensuring his independence now but also well into the future.