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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Autumn 2021

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Get to know your new President | Resilience: I get knocked down, but I get up again | MSWA’s m contribution to research | 36 years of Bulletin

NURSING PROTECTING

NURSING PROTECTING YOURSELF AND OTHERS IN THE FLU SEASON DON’T FORGET YOUR FLU SHOT Each winter brings the risk of influenza and annual flu vaccinations are now being offered. The Australian Government recommends everyone over the age of six months has the flu vaccination every year, especially those at risk – the young, the elderly and those with pre-existing illnesses. Our Clients often ask whether they should have the vaccination. People with neurological or other chronic conditions are advised to discuss any concerns with their treating neurologist or GP as soon as possible; it is essential to have the vaccination earlier rather than later to reduce the risk of contracting the flu. Our medical advisor Professor Bill Carroll offers the following comment for people with MS: "There is no evidence that these vaccinations make MS worse or cause a relapse. Should a relapse occur around the time of flu vaccination it is thought to be coincidental. Occasionally people with MS can have a brief exacerbation of existing MS symptoms, due to vaccination associated fever or fatigue, but this is not worsening of the MS. SUE SHAPLAND RN, BN, MSCN GENERAL MANAGER STRATEGIC SUPPORTS AND RESIDENTIAL OPTIONS People with MS are advised to discuss any concerns with their treating neurologist or physician as soon as possible as it is essential to have the vaccination earlier rather than later to reduce the risk of Getting vaccinated helps protect both you and those around you. It’s particularly important to protect vulnerable people in the community who can’t be vaccinated, such as babies who are younger than contracting the flu". six months and adults with It’s difficult to predict who will low immunity. catch the flu, or who will become seriously ill from it. The flu can require someone to be hospitalised and can even be fatal, especially in the elderly and children under two. The Government funded Health Direct (healthdirect.gov.au/colds-and-flu-treatments) is packed with health information and advice. You can call a Health Direct RN 24/7 for free advice: 1800 022 222. 14

CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT TEAM NDIS OPENING DOORS TO MORE PEOPLE Late in 2019, I had the pleasure of travelling to Albany to take part in several National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Information Sessions supporting the upcoming NDIS roll-out across the Great Southern region. At one session, we were joined by MSWA Clients, local GPs, other service providers, and one lady who found out about the event from someone in the local pub. It was this lady who provided the lasting memory for me, as when I spoke with her she disclosed she had POEMS syndrome, a condition so rare that she is one of only five across Australia with the condition. The reason this lady’s story and her condition has stuck with me 18 months later was not because she was incredibly nice (she was) rather it was because her story and the story of thousands of other participants nationwide is one of the success stories of the NDIS. It was because she may be one of the 212,504 participants (18,355 in WA) who now are receiving support for the first time under the NDIS. It’s easy to find maddening, befuddling and outrageous stories about the NDIS and the experiences of some of its participants. They are in the media almost every day. However, what is discussed less often is the impact the Scheme is having on so many people who now have access to services that would not have been possible when funding was tied to organisations. What is often missed in the rush to declare the NDIS a failure is that the Scheme is the first opportunity for many of those with rare conditions to have access to ongoing care without out-of-pocket expenses or hospital stays. This group is not a small number. According to the latest Quarterly Report, 52% of active participants in WA are receiving support for the first time. This means that over half of the participants on the Scheme now have choice, control, and access to services helping them to reach their personal goals. This greater access for rarer conditions is also being seen at MSWA. We now have over 160 Clients classified within smaller cohort conditions enjoying the same access to MSWA services as everyone else. The NDIS as an idea is a remarkable one that has the potential to positively impact hundreds of thousands of Australians. While the NDIS as a reality has not reached that potential yet, we should recognise what the Scheme has achieved and all those it has helped in the short time since its inception. GEOFF HUTCHINSON MANAGER CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT "I’ve had a really positive experience with the NDIS. Without NDIS support I wouldn't have the services of an amazing provider like MSWA, which has set me up to succeed in every aspect of living with the lasting effects of stroke. The NDIS arrange an assessment each year and it amazes me that out of an interview comes so many more wonderful opportunities. Without these opportunities I believe that I wouldn't be working three days a week, be able to get out into the community, or see my family and friends." TRACEY HOCKEY MSWA CLIENT 15