Freedom gained through NDIS
Published at: 29 Nov 2019
SINCE JOINING THE NATIONAL DISABILITY INSURANCE SCHEME EARLIER THIS YEAR, MOOROOPNA’S LELLY MATHER’S QUALITY OF LIFE HAS IMPROVED OUT OF SIGHT. WITH SEVERAL DEBILITATING DISABILITIES, MS MATHER DISCUSSED HOW THE NDIS HAD CHANGED HER LIFE.
Prior to establishing her NDIS plan, Lelly Mather experienced up to eight hospitalisations each year.
Ms Mather said she suffered from a severe condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome hypermobility type which caused her joints to dislocate incredibly easily.
Not only does Ms Mather live with EDS but she said she also had epilepsy, severe allergies and psychosocial difficulties.
GV Health NDIS Support Coordinator Eloise Grabham said she had been supporting Ms Mather for over two years and the role progressed into NDIS support this year.
“My role is to link Lelly to providers who can give her support,” she said.
“Building capacity is also a big part of my role in helping Lelly to be independent and to understand how the NDIS works.”
A huge part of the support included arranging medical equipment for Ms Mather who must wear five splints to prevent her joints dislocating as well as special shoes.
Ms Grabham said the NDIS had allowed Ms Mather to be able to live independently, after her mother had been largely providing care.
“Lelly contacts me by phone and email around two times each week to catch up and we meet together every fortnight,” she said.
“She has staff that come in three times a day, seven days a week.”
Ms Grabham said the constant care, provided through the NDIS, had reduced the amount of hospital visits for Ms Mather which were largely due to her mental health.
“Lelly was in and out of hospital multiple times a year,” she said, adding she had not presented at all this year.
Ms Mather said she had accessed a counsellor through the NDIS which had made a huge difference to improving her mental health.
“Eloise got me under a counsellor because I was in a bad state,” she said.
“This counsellor has saved me.
“They worked out how to get me to understand my feelings.”
Ms Grabham pointed out that Ms Mather’s commitment to engaging with the services had seen her improve in leaps and bounds, also pursuing several of her interests since engaging with the NDIS.
“I’ve been able to garden with the help of a gardener who comes once a fortnight,” Ms Mather said.
“One of my carers is also a gardener and they mentor me.
“When I can I get in and help out.”
Also an avid artist, Ms Mather now has much more motivation to create artworks, even being commissioned to create pieces.
“It helps with my pain control because I am in Level 10 pain all the time,” she said.
Ms Grabham said Ms Mather had far more choice over her life since joining the NDIS.
“She is a 48-year-old woman who is absolutely charming and full of life,” she said.
“The NDIS has enabled Lelly to thrive rather than just survive.”
While her experience had been positive on the whole, Ms Grabham said they often experienced challenges when it came to waiting for equipment.
“We’re waiting on an electric bed and wheelchair,” Ms Mather said.
“For me to go shopping, a carer has to push me.
“If I had the chair, I’d be able to go shopping on my own.”
With the International Day of People with Disabilities coming up on December 3, Ms Mather reminded the community that disability came in all shapes and sizes.
“It does not look the same for everybody,” she said.
A spokesperson from Community Interlink – an alliance of local health service registered NDIS providers – said the scheme had been the biggest social reform in Australia since the introduction of Medicare.
“It’s an era of massive change in the disability sector,” they said.
Community Interlink members include lead agency GV Health and many more health services throughout the Hume and southern Riverina regions.
Visit www.communityinterlink.org.au for more information.