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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Autumn 2019

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NDIS update | 2019 camps | Health education and peer support groups | Fundraising news


NDIS UPDATE GEOFF HUTCHINSON, MSWA NDIS BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER HEALTH EDUCATION AND PEER SUPPORT GROUPS SABENA LUND, MSWA COORDINATOR OF HEALTH EDUCATION & PEER SUPPORT The NDIA recently released the second report for year six of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and I thought it would be timely to update you with some of the key data on how it is all going. A word of warning, this article is full of stats so if you want to skip to the big reveal; the NDIS still has some work to do, but overall is trending up. Wait, what? First of all, yes, the NDIS is in its sixth year! It seems like only yesterday that the NDIS was introduced. While the roll out has had some twists and turns, it’s important to recognise that its still very young and soon the whole country will be covered by one equitable funding scheme which is no small feat. The NDIS is how big? What jumps out from this report is the number of participants who have already made their way onto the NDIS. As of 31 December 2018, more than 244,000 Australians are receiving NDIS funding. West Australians made up 9,607 of this number or approximately 68% of the State’s estimated intake. Importantly, 3,227 of these participants are receiving individualised support for the first time. The report also highlights that the WANDIS to NDIS transfers remain a big priority for the NDIA with 2,949 transfers finalised compared to only 967 in the previous quarter. This reflects what MSWA have experienced and explains some of the wait for new NDIS customers receiving plans. While I acknowledge that the planning process has taken longer than expected, it’s good to see so many people now have access to funding for the first time, and I am optimistic about further improvements over the next 6 – 12 months. This optimism is due to the number of plan activations we have seen over the past three months and the announcement late last year that Mission Australia and APM will be acting as Local Area Coordinators and assisting with plan development into the community. So where does the funding go? In WA, multiple sclerosis customers make up 2.7% of the ###COLUMNCONTENT###.5 billion total of annual committed funding, with core support – daily activities accounting for 48.4% of funded services. People living with Autism make up the largest group of NDIS participants with 34% of the WA market with Mental Health second. One important stat from this quarterly report is that only 75% of committed funds were utilised in 2018 which means that people are still not making full use of their NDIS funding. Unused funding is returned to the NDIA, so if you have any questions about how to make the most of your NDIS plan please reach out to us today. Is it making a difference? Included in this report were findings from a recent study of participants associated with the NDIS at least two years. The survey asked, “has the NDIS helped?” across various categories and showed that 80% of respondents in the 25 and over age group reported that their daily living has been improved. The study also showed that 68% of respondents felt that their social and community participation improved under the NDIS which are both positive outcomes. So, what needs improvement? If there was one aspect of the NDIS vision that still needed work, it was ‘supporting people into employment opportunities’ and with the number of participants in employment not budging from 21% throughout the six years of the Scheme. The employment rates of people living with multiple sclerosis is slightly better at 22% while the rates for those under the age of 25 is higher still, so maybe things are beginning to change. Pleasingly the NDIA is acting on this matter by setting up a Participant Employment Taskforce to look for answers to the problem. Overall, my reading of this report is positive for both the NDIA and participants. The feedback we are getting from MSWA Members who have commenced their NDIS funding is generally positive, and we hope that once the Scheme finalises its rollout in July, service delivery will continue to improve. I would still expect an environment of change for the next couple of years, however, MSWA will continue to work with our Customers to navigate this changing environment and focus on improving our service delivery to you. As always if you have any questions about the NDIS or your plan in general, please don’t hesitate to contact your NDIS team at or call 1300 097 989. Health Education What kind of Assistive Technology (AT) could help make life easier for you? Come along to a workshop offered by MSWA Occupational Therapy staff to find out more. Workshops for people living with all neurological conditions are offered at Rockingham, Wilson, Beechboro and Joondalup/ Butler. Topics include: Assistive Technology (AT) refers to aids that help you to do something, such as: - cooking tools such as an electric can opener - housekeeping tools like a long-handled duster or a wheeled laundry cart - bathroom aids such as a grab bar - grooming tools including long handled shoe horn - reading tools such as an app that reads from your phone or lap-top - writing aids including foam grips for pens - typing alternatives such as voice recognition apps - scheduling tools like the calendar function on a smartphone Cognition: Join a cognition group to learn how to improve your attention, memory and thinking, and to share your experiences with others. People living with MS commonly experience changes in cognition such as taking longer to take in and process information, or having more trouble recalling details of a task or a discussion. Managing fatigue: Fatigue is the most commonly reported symptom in MS, with most people living with MS experiencing this at some time. Fatigue can impact all areas of life and can be experienced as overwhelming weariness, tiredness or lack of energy. Come along to a fatigue workshop to share ideas and gain strategies about how to conserve your energy and work smarter. Contact Occupational Therapy on 9365 4888 or OT.referrals@mswa to find out more about upcoming workshops. Peer Support Peer support can help people living with a neurological condition and their family and friends to connect with others who understand from personal experience. By reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness, peer support can empower people to improve their health and wellbeing. Peer support can be provided in a range of ways, including peer support groups, one to one and online. MSWA offers a range of peer support groups for: - people living with MS with groups held in Currambine, Butler, Beechboro and Rockingham - regional people living with MS and their support people with groups held in Northam and Geraldton - carers of people living with MS with groups held in Currambine, Manning and Rockingham Peer support is available for people living with all neurological conditions through a range of groups and workshops such as expressive journaling, restorative sound, stress busters, and mindfulness meditation. We’re looking to continue to build the peer support we offer – watch this space! Contact Sabena on or 9365 4858 or for more information. 12 | MSWA BULLETIN AUTUMN 2019 MSWA BULLETIN AUTUMN 2019 | 13