“Access Lifecare is an allied health organisation making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities in Canberra, Queensland and New South Wales. They specialise in the provision of Supported Independent Living and community participation for their clients. They deliver key services for people who need the support when they leave hospital - and they do it with a holistic approach,” Ms Roschi de Silva from Developing Australian Communities said.
“It is the delivery of these services that makes this team extraordinary. The management team includes two social workers who have 35 years’ experience in clinical hospital and inpatient and community settings for mental health, case management, advocacy, and guardianship.” “Today, they lead the Access Lifecare team to have a holistic approach in their service delivery with expertise in proactive dementia care and psychosocial recovery with a strong commitment to advocacy and inclusion. This sets them apart from much of their competition.”
Directors Matthew Porunnoli and Boby Thomas identified a gap in the provision of accommodation facilities for those with a disability when they were discharged from hospital.
“Too many people were being perhaps wrongly discharged to nursing homes, despite being under 65 years of age,” Mr Thomas said.
“The Access Lifecare team filled this gap by transitioning many clients from nursing home or aged care environments (some of whom have been there for more than ten years), back into a community setting with their Supported Independent Living houses.” “Many of our clients have flourished with new social opportunities, stimulation, and positive engagement,” Mr Porunnoli said.
“The Access Lifecare management team complete weekly quality control, spot checks of their Supported Independent Living houses, especially those for clients with complex cases or comorbidities.” “These visits allow management to ensure clients are receiving appropriate care and support, their home is clean, they have fresh, quality food and excellent cooking practices and that medication is always secure and administered correctly. Management can also regularly and confidentially review and discuss individual client care and experiences and listen to their suggestions, wants and needs.” Mr Porunnoli said.
“A unique strategy by Access Lifecare is our ability to create dementia friendly modifications to homes. The team undertakes some simple yet highly effective environmental changes, such as ensuring the toilet seat is a different colour to assist clients with visuo-spatial difficulties to easily locate the toilet. We have painted each door a different colour, so clients remember which room belongs to them. These are simple things, but it makes clients’ lives easier - and that is what we want to do for them,” Mr Thomas said.
“Access Lifecare take great pride in their commitment to upskill their team in advanced support in mental health, psycho-social disability, dementia and intellectual disability. This includes nationally accredited training through Dementia Australia” Kim Nicholls, General Manager at Access Lifecare, said. “Our staff will also participate in the Enabling Eddie program, which will allow support workers to see the world through the eyes of a person living with dementia, utilising virtual reality technology.”
“Access Lifecare is one of the few providers who support clients through palliative care, to the end of their life. They believe every individual has the right to die at home wherever possible and collaborate closely with home based palliative care and medical experts to work toward this goal,” Ms Nicholls said.
“Access Lifecare has developed a weekly activity program for all their clients, which includes Fit and Fun, an activity combined with bowling and mini-golf, music and a DJ program, bingo, dance, meditation, bush walking, fishing, mocktail nights, BBQ, and healthy eating dinner groups. This structure, routine and active engagement can make a big difference in people’s lives and functionality,” Mr Thomas said.
“Access Lifecare has partnered with Bunnings Australia where participants meet weekly for a range of activities such as craft, refurbishing furniture, and DIY projects. Other activities include ‘Summernats’, Floriade, High Tea, concerts, trips to the coast and more. The benefits of such activities have been in building positive relationships and a sense of belonging with peers and staff, improved confidence and developing new skills,” Ms. Nicholls said.
“The entire Access Lifecare team is certainly making a unique difference for so many people across Canberra, New South Wales and Brisbane. Their attention to detail, holistic commitment to best practice and consultation with experts sets Access Lifecare apart and holds them in high regard with their client base and the wider community.” Ms de Silva of Developing Australian Communities said.
“You can connect with them at the Brisbane Disability Connection Expo, Friday 3 and Saturday 4 March 2023 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre where they are Gold Sponsor, or via their website (access lifecare.org.au),” Ms de Silva said.