Visit to the Goldfields Region 2016

Image of Simone BunterSo how much can you fit into one week… Turns out; a lot!

Hi, I’m Simone Bunter, one of the Occupational Therapists at the ILC WA and I have the pleasure of going out to the Goldfields as part of the ILC’s country service. The country service gives people who live outside the metropolitan area an opportunity to talk to an Occupational Therapist and get information and advice about equipment that can help them to live independently. It also gives them an opportunity to trial some equipment.

This was just my second trip out to the region, and being a shorter stint this time I was worried that people might be too busy with their everyday lives to pop out for a visit and chat, boy was I wrong. My trusty driver and colleague (Rob) and I, had quite the adventure; travelling from our base in Nedlands to Kalgoorlie, Menzies, Leonora, Kambalda, and Esperance before travelling back home.

We started our week with a display van setup at Eastern Goldfield Community Centre, just in front of the Men’s Shed where we saw some lovely coordinators, and members of the community who were particularly interested in advice on how to select a grab rail, and information about a calendar clock. After our display, we had an appointment with a little kiddo and her family and physiotherapists, where we trialed some equipment to support her in a standing position. Following all of this, we were also invited along to the Goldfields Individual and Family Support Association (GIFSA) 25th anniversary event; where we met a lot of passionate support coordinators.

On days two and three, we visited Menzies and Leonora, where we had two more display setups and community members could trial lots of equipment; the most popular being the scooters: this time they were the Travelscoot and Shoprider Little Beauty QT8.

The best part about setting up in Leonora was seeing a familiar face riding around town on a scooter. Doesn’t sound too exciting, I know; however this particular man was someone that we had seen during our trip in October last year, who did not even know he was eligible for funding for a scooter. It was pretty exciting for us to see him 6 months later with his own scooter; getting himself around town with renewed independence! FYI: For information about equipment grants and eligibility please contact your friendly hospital Occupational Therapist, or give our grants team a call on 9381 0600.

Day four, we packed our day with an appointment for phones and medication management devices, followed by a meeting with the wonderful Occupational Therapy team at Kalgoorlie Health Campus, and an appointment with a family to trial slings that are suitable for someone with an amputation. We also had a display van setup in Coolgardie in the afternoon. Phew!

Kambalda Seniors GroupOn day five, we had a display setup in Kambalda and I met with six lovely young ladies who attend the Kambalda; where they had an education about some new equipment on the market, and I got an education on how to have fun and enjoy life at any age… just ask them what they normally say when smiling to take a photograph! After many laughs in Kambalda, as well as trial of the Uccello Kettle, we packed up and headed down to Esperance.

Esperance Freemasons Seniors HomeDay six was another lovely jam-packed day with a meeting with 19 of the Freemasons seniors group; where we talked about equipment to help when getting in and out of the car, as well as to put on socks, and to make a cup of tea much easier! To top it all off, I also won a raffle for a beautiful and warm crocheted blanket- hand made by members. Everyone is a winner in Esperance! Following the group meeting, Rob and I also met with Esperance Senior High School Education Support Centre teachers about equipment options to further support the students, and ILC WA services that can support them from Nedlands (including Skype and Videoconferencing). We also met another Occupational Therapist at a primary school where we installed and donated toilet supports and trialled steps to let the kiddo step up to the toilet and to her seat at the class desk. What a thrill to watch this little one do things for herself!

Our seventh and final day before the long trek home was full of five appointments and meetings. The first was with a therapist about slings for a young boy she was working with, who was unfortunately too sick to meet with us at the time. We then had a quick pit stop to share some information with more teachers at a high school, before attending a home visit with an Occupational Therapist to trial scooters with a man who wanted to travel to visit his wife in a nursing home. The final two appointments were also at people’s homes with their Occupational Therapists to trial sturdy mid-wheel drive power wheelchairs; which were both well received by the persons, with both commenting how much freedom the chair will give. These experiences brought to mind the quote by Steve Gleason “I am not confined to a wheelchair, I am liberated by my wheelchair”.

All in all this was certainly a trip to remember; full of challenges, and a lot of laughs. My next trip will likely be in the first half of October this year. So if you would like to join in the fun or have any equipment you would like to have a chat about; or possibly trial (if I can fit in in my caravan), give me a call 1300 885 886 or email I’d be happy to meet you!