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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Autumn 2020

A fresh look for NDIS support We’re all in this together – a message from our CEO Myth busting the stigma of attending counselling Food matters

WE’RE ALL IN THIS

WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER MARCUS STAFFORD CEO As this autumn edition of Bulletin goes to print, I am conscious of the daily changes to our world and working to keep you up to date with significant developments as they unfold. Please be reassured that in these difficult times, at every level, I am focussed on protecting you. The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is on every TV channel and on every news site, so I won’t duplicate that information. And I certainly won’t add to the sensationalist reporting from some quarters. What I would say is, filter out the nonsense and the scaremongering of the illinformed, including the panicking, and the reckless opinionated idiots on social media. Listen to the Department of Health, WA State Government, the Federal Government and get information from the MSWA website. We are updating it regularly from informed and thoughtful sources, including links to MS Australia. For people living with MS, analysed data has emerged from Europe that has informed Australian clinical neurologists and academic researchers. Their calm, expert views are posted on our website. For people living with broader neurological conditions: we will stay close to expert views from qualified sources. Informed updates will continue to be made available. My message to you. If you have any concerns about your health or your treatment regime, speak to your neurologist and/or GP. For those taking immunosuppressant medications, continue to monitor your health and if you feel unwell, contact your GP or you can ring Health Direct on 1800 022 222. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and your health specialist will offer the best tailored advice for your specific situation. Our best preventative advice is to follow the hygiene measures of the Department of Health; especially washing your hands frequently and practising two metre social distancing. These measures will change, as things change. I’ve also been a ‘warrior’ in the past, soldiering on through sickness. Not this time. If you’re sick, please don’t take the irresponsible chance for others. Don’t go to work until you are better and stay indoors. The question I get asked a lot is, ‘do I think this is another flu’? My reading of the answer is ‘yes and no’. It’s a novel flu, so it’s uncharted territory for us all. The ‘yes’ is that the health of the overwhelming majority of us will either be unaffected, or we will recover completely. The ‘no’ bit is all about the broader community – the broader Australian team. We must all follow the advice and do everything that we can to protect and support our older folk. Someone’s grandma. Or maybe my 89 year-old dad. And of course, people with pre-existing conditions and significant health issues. If we all act calmly and do the right thing, we’ll flatten that curve; and the journey, although unpleasant, will be more manageable and the recovery will be strong. At MSWA, we are following the advice of the Federal and WA State Governments and in some cases going above those standards. For the period of this crisis, we have stopped group activities and we’ve stopped other services, like massage, that we feel present unacceptable risk. We’ve put in place hard protocols for our residential facilities. I know that these decisions aren’t popular. I really understand that. And I look forward so much to business as usual. But in these extraordinary times, our focus is resolutely on protecting you. Our forecasts, in this world of uncertainty, are that things will be tough and things will be tight for MSWA. Let’s face it. It’s a tough time for the world and it’s a tough time for the country. Our organisation is neither immune nor alone here. But we will get through this. When the time comes, if we work together now as a team of decent people, MSWA’s recovery will be fast and our recovery will be strong. I have no doubt about that at all. I look forward to shaking your hand again and hey ... if you want, I’ll even give you a hug. In a year’s time, we won’t look back at this with any positive feelings. But we will look back at this. And if we stand together as a responsible and caring community, we will be able to embrace the future with our heads held high. My very best regards in these challenging and difficult times. 4

STRATEGIC SUPPORTS AND RESIDENTIAL OPTIONS SUE SHAPLAND RN, BN, MSCN GENERAL MANAGER STRATEGIC SUPPORTS AND RESIDENTIAL OPTIONS “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough” Mario Andretti. We couldn't all help but be affected in some way by the tragic scenes of Australia burning, with the loss of life, property and so many animals. What was heartening was the overwhelming bravery of the emergency services and the support shown by so many Australians to those less fortunate and the wildlife rescuers. Everyday people doing extraordinary things for the good of the community and our precious wildlife. As if that wasn’t enough, we are now confronted with the challenges of the spread of the novel coronavirus and the impact, disruption and related concerns that it continues to bring for almost everyone. The effect on communities worldwide will be ongoing and Australia is seeing significant restrictions to our movements and shortages of essential items due to the bizarre phenomenon of hoarding! It’s at times like these I am grateful for the Australian health system, our quality of life and less dense population. As we embrace preventative measures through good hand and cough hygiene, social distancing and other infection control measures and self-isolation it’s important to stay positive and support each other. We will get through this together and all look forward to getting back to the cafes, sharing lunch and watching the footy! 2020 is well and truly off and running for MSWA and as usual, we have lots planned! Our Albany construction project was to start in May but is now deferred. This will be really exciting, especially for our Great Southern Customers. The Services Hub and high support accommodation facility will be built to our high standard and, with significant input from Andrea Taylor, the décor and fitout will be a cut above the rest! Our Butler facility is now a year old! The first residents moved in in January 2019 and they are justifiably proud of their modern, homely units. The theatre room with its luxury furnishings and large screen TV continually wows visitors onsite. We are very proud of our high support accommodation and residential respite facilities and the great MSWA staff supporting our residents and Customers. From Fern River, which opened in the 80’s, to Butler which opened last year, we strive to deliver quality services and maintain the facilities to a high standard. A huge focus for our teams this year is preparing for the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission which takes over responsibility for the registration and accreditation of NDIS service providers. Compliance is a necessity and we are currently reviewing policy and processes ensuring we align with the National Standards. MSWA continues to provide much needed funds to support research efforts in WA, Australia and overseas; .5million in total has been allocated in this financial year, and I will provide some updates on the WA projects in the next Bulletin. We have cancelled our annual Members Forum due to the COVID 19 restrictions but when we can reschedule we will let you know! Research updates are included in every Bulletin and Vitality our monthly e-newsletter. I hope you managed to stay cool in the heat and are surviving the fluctuating conditions, from tropical storms to heatwaves mixed with the odd cold and rainy day! Heat is not a friend of MS, or many other neurological conditions, so keeping cool and hydrated is important. Whist the current focus is on the coronavirus, our annual flu season will be upon us before we know it so don’t forget to have your recommended annual flu shot. Take care and I hope you enjoy this edition of the Bulletin. 5

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