My name is Sophie and I an Occupational Therapist in the Assistive Equipment team at the ILC.
I was lucky to get to cover a trip in the beautiful south west region in April as part of the ILC country services. These trips are a really good opportunity for people of all ages in the community to access and chat to an Occupational Therapist and to also view and trial the range of assistive equipment available that could help them to live more independently.
On this trip I was accompanied by our driver, Rob Stain and Jessica Mahon, who is our Busselton based ILC Occupational Therapist, and joined us for a few days.
Jessica will be taking on the south west region as she is based in the area and well equipped with local supplier knowledge and user needs.
I usually complete trips in the lovely Wheatbelt region, where I get to see lots of golden crops and straight long roads, so I was excited for the opportunity to see a different area of Western Australia. I have previously visited Dunsborough and Margaret River on holidays, however I had never been to the towns of Mundijong, Harvey, Donnybrook, Northcliffe, Bridgetown and Balingup, which were on our itinerary. I had been warned by a colleague to prepare for rain and cold weather, although I was pleasantly surprised as although we experienced a few chilly mornings, overall we were blessed with sunny weather for the entire week.
We took our caravan which was packed with all sorts of equipment such as scooters, wheelchairs, chairs, bathroom equipment and smaller gadgets. We were asked a few times on the trip whether we sleep in the caravan! However I assured them that the caravan is always full of equipment and we get to stay in the local motel or B&B. On this trip we were very lucky to stay in lovely accommodation.
Over the week we set up the caravan in some towns. In Mundijong and Donnybrook at the local Community Resource Centre, in Harvey outside the Seniors Citizens Centre, in Northcliffe at the Family Community Centre and in Bridgetown at the Town Square. We found the staff very helpful at each of these locations and met many friendly locals. In Donnybrook we met a lady Sally who was interested in finding a scooter that could transport her between her home and town. She lived at the top of a hill so it was important that the scooter could safely manage the terrain. We later measured the gradient of this particular hill and then sent some scooter options that would be appropriate.
We had some carers from Home and Community Care visit us in Northcliffe to see the new equipment that was available and that they could tell their clients about. One of these gadgets was the OwnFone Mobile Phone which is a basic mobile phone that can be customised for the user’s needs. The display can have the contacts as photos, names or braille and is great for people who only want to be able to call and speak to someone rather than using texting and internet functions.
In Bridgetown we met a lady who was having issues with working her Safe Life Pendant which is a non-monitored call system that works in the community. The pendant has an emergency button that can message 5 numbers and a button that can made a call as well. After a bit of problem solving we were able to resolve the issues and she was very happy to have the equipment working for her.
On our days in Harvey and Donnybrook we were able to give talks to carer support groups which was a pleasure as these groups made us feel welcome. Talking about our services and equipment in more details generated some great discussion and attendees also enjoyed having a go at using some of the equipment such as the jar openers.
We ended our trip on a high by attending the Balingup Small Farm Field Day which was a fantastic event which was very well organised. On this day we came across many people who had never heard of our service so it was a great way to promote our services and hopefully encourage more referrals and requests in the south west area for future trips. Please give me a call on 1300 885 886 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to arrange a visit.