hours of community supports delivered
residential service hours across 5 sites
case management customers
new customers receiving complex and specialist supports
peer support group sessions
health and wellbeing group programs
SpinChat presentations delivered
participants in the SpinChat program
Independence Australia provides ongoing specialist supports to more than 740 Victorians living with a complex or significant disability or other personal need. These services include one-on-one supports in the home and community, psychology and counselling services, therapy assistance, support connection, specialist support coordination, individual skills development and training, and 24/7 shared supported accommodation services for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and DHHS funded individuals and their families.
Our specialist supports are funded by multiple sources each year. They include client specific funding packages of support, some health system funding, considerable support from private donors and our philanthropic partners, as well as corporate contribution from the successful management of our social enterprise. Even without funding, some clients can still access Independence Australia’s supports and services if we assess them as able to benefit from our programs.
As the NDIS continued to roll-out, Independence Australia successfully transitioned 97 per cent of our customers from state funding to become participants of the scheme. For some of our customers with complex needs, our Case Managers assisted participants to prepare for their NDIS planning meetings and ensure their first plans were appropriately funded to enable them to achieve their goals.
During the year, we launched our new Positive Behavioural Support Service for people with an intellectual disability and behaviours of concern. Our behavioural specialists work with customers to support them to adopt positive behaviours to minimise the risk of harm to themselves, others or property, reducing the need for restrictive practices that may impact full participation in life. The program has been a huge success and we look forward to continuing its development in the year ahead.
In early 2018, the organisation was awarded the NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building National Readiness Grant to expand our existing disability magazine, Inform, into a key online platform for NDIS participants across Australia. Inform is set to become an interactive digital tool, including podcasts, to assist Australian’s living with a disability to connect with vital services and supports within their communities.
Our TAC-sponsored SpinChat program continued to raise awareness, promote prevention and educate secondary school students about spinal cord injury. More than 160 insightful presentations were delivered by people with spinal cord injuries to 13,000+ youths across regional and metropolitan Victoria. SpinChat has now reached over 60,000 students since its inception in 2010.
Over the past 12 months, the organisation extended its psychology student placement program — this year, partnering with Victoria University and Swinburne University of Technology. The students helped Independence Australia conduct more than 100 sessions, delivering individual and group mental health services. Many of these sessions were for people living with a disability who had exhausted their Medicare funded psychology support and may not have been unable to continue their therapy without this program. It was also an opportunity for the organisation to share its knowledge with the budding practitioners, with the aim of increasing the number of professionals in the sector that possess experience working with people living with spinal cord injury and other physical disabilities.
In collaboration with Spinal Injury Resource and Support Network (SPIRE), Independence Australia continued to deliver pain management workshops in Ballarat and Shepparton. The program is targeted at people living with spinal cord injuries in regional Victoria who are often unable to access these types of services due to logistical challenges. The two-series workshops, focussed on assisting participants to develop their skills and knowledge to better manage their own health and wellbeing. Feedback from participants indicates that the program has been highly successful in reducing the distress experienced by people with a spinal cord injury associated with persistent pain.
Case study: Hayden
Eighteen-year-old Hayden is an NDIS participant who started receiving support from Independence Australia last October. Following a trampoline accident, the former gymnast needed assistance to become independent again.
With guidance from his Support Coordinator, who helps him engage with a variety of services, link with mainstream supports and understand his NDIS plan, the Year 12 student is well on his way to regaining his independence. Hayden attends a gym twice a week for therapy and has returned to coaching gymnastics.
Hayden credits Independence Australia with helping him get the most out of his NDIS plan and getting back into the community. “My Support Coordinator is amazing. She’s been professional, supportive and helped me allocate my NDIS funding into my care and therapies, which has, in turn, supported me to regain my independence.”
orders distributed nationally
phone calls per day
visits to webstore
Independence Australia supplies more than 15,000 continence, wound care, skin care, nutritional and other healthcare products, mobility aids and equipment across Australia. We distribute an average of 2,500 orders a day from our six distribution centres across the nation. As a social enterprise, part of the proceeds made from selling healthcare products goes back into the community, supporting people living with a disability or other personal need to regain and retain their independence.
In line with this purpose, Independence Australia was appointed to lead the National Epidermolysis Bullosa Dressing Scheme (NEBDS), on behalf of the Commonwealth Department of Health supporting an estimated 1,000 Australians living with some form of Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare genetic disease which causes the skin to blister and peel. An estimated 1,000 Australians live with some form of EB, a rare genetic disease which causes the skin to blister and peel.
The organisation experienced strong growth in the community sector as the NDIS continued to roll out in each state. We experienced a 34 per cent increase in sales, including 50 per cent growth in sales within the NDIS. This growth has been supported by process development and improvement across the business to build a stronger foundation for the future.
Our Mobility Aids Australia (MAA) division is a leading supplier of rehabilitation and healthcare equipment in Victoria. We offer a large range of electric scooters, powered wheelchairs, electric lift chairs, electric beds, manual wheelchairs, lifting hoists, walkers, day chairs and nursing beds. MAA was awarded the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and WorkSafe Victoria contract to supply equipment and related services to more than 35,000 clients across Victoria. A dedicated online portal will be developed over the coming year, to meet the needs of prescribers and clients. This contract further demonstrates our commitment to servicing the needs of the community.
Following the interstate expansion of our Education Days in 2017, we continued to deliver more events to health professionals across the country. In July, we hosted 150 delegates and showcased 35 manufacturers at our inaugural event in Brisbane. The following month, we hosted 150 delegates at our flagship Melbourne which featured 40 suppliers. Our Geelong Education Day held in in September was booked out for the second year in a row, providing expert advice from leading industry speakers to more than 100 attendees and featuring product ranges from 33 suppliers.
In March 2018, the team travelled to Sydney for the first time, hosting 160 delegates and 35 trade exhibitors, before heading to Tasmania in May to host 70 guests and 27 suppliers in Launceston and Hobart. Independence Australia’s Education Days are regarded as a highly valuable industry event for both prescribers and suppliers across the health sector. Their continuing success and growing demand will lead to further expansion of the events across more states and territories.
In partnership with the Continence Nurses Society Australia (CoNSA) and Asaleo Care’s TENA brand, Independence Australia successfully hosted 120 continence nurses at the CoNSA Annual General Meeting and Dinner in Sydney. The event continued to strengthen our relationship and reputation with continence nurses around Australia.
Case study: Regal Home Health
Regal Home Health, a leader of in-home healthcare and support services, has partnered with Independence Australia for the past eight years. Independence Australia distributes hundreds of deliveries each week to the homes of those in Regal’s care.
Regal Home Health Chief Executive Officer, Michael Hall describes Independence Australia as a “crucial partner” in providing their clients with both consumables to promote the healing of wounds and products for the treatment of incontinence.
“With an ageing population, increased comorbidities and a desire for the aged to live at home as long as possible, Regal Home Health will continue to partner with Independence Australia well into the future,” Mr Hall said.
industry relevant qualifications delivered
short course enrolments
of students rated their trainer as high or very high
of students rated their experience as high or very high
Field is a nationally accredited Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and professional development provider, with more than 20 years’ experience in the delivery of training solutions for the community care sector. Central to the delivery of our training is a strong focus on student engagement and experience, to effectively prepare graduates for the workforce and support job readiness.
Over the past year, Field reviewed its business development and student referral strategy, offering a new approach to better meet the needs of our key service providers. As part of these changes, our new dual outcome qualifications were launched, providing graduates with broader skill sets that enable them to work across the Ageing Support, Disability, Leisure and Health sectors, increasing employment opportunities.
Field has continued to extend its presence across greater Melbourne, into the Barwon region, delivering certificate courses and a high volume of short courses from its new training facility in Geelong West. As a region with an ongoing need for workforce capacity, we are very proud of the skilled and empowered graduates we’ve trained to enter the sector.
We were also pleased to launch our new training facility in Camberwell, offering students large, modern facilities with three flexible training rooms and a computer lab, in a central location close to public transport and local amenities.
Case study: Melisa
Melisa enrolled into Certificate IV in Disability with Field in July 2017. Having not completed Year 10 at school, she was very nervous about enrolling into adult education and was going to be committing to study whilst still coordinating life with four kids.
With support and encouragement to enrol and commence studies, Melisa became a very involved student in class discussion and participation. Sometimes facing the challenge of having no petrol money to drive from Lalor to Thomastown for training, Melisa remained determined and persevered.
This determination continued through to the later part of her training when she continued to overcome barriers of adversity, including saving to obtain a Police Check and having to delay practical placement due to issues with her car.
Despite all of the challenges, Melisa recently graduated and was thrilled to have secured an ongoing role with an in-home client close to home. The impact of gaining employment to Melisa’s self-confidence and the fact she can now independently support her family cannot be understated.
visits to corporate website
raised at IA Daddo Charity Golf Day
attendees at IA Daddo Charity Golf Day
Accessibility Weekend venues
For the 13th consecutive year, Independence Australia held its largest annual fundraiser— the Independence Australia Daddo Charity Golf Day. On Friday 24 November, more than 130 golfers filled the fairways of the Legends and Open courses at Moonah Links Resort in Fingal, on the Mornington Peninsula.
More than $60,000 was raised, making it one of the highest results in the event’s history. A combination of sponsorship packages, player registrations and competition and raffle ticket sales for the event helped Independence Australia amass the terrific tally.
Funds generated from the golf day contribute to Independence Australia’s Psychology and Counselling program. These crucial services assist people living with a disability or personal need to regain and retain their independence. The Independence Australia Daddo Charity Golf Day’s fun and casual atmosphere has earned a reputation as a must-attend event, with a large number of participants and sponsors returning year on year.
Human Resources is responsible for delivering recruitment, payroll, employee relations, advisory and workforce development across the organisation.
Over the past year, Independence Australia moved towards an online focus for its internal procedures, with the rollout of e-communication platforms for our new starter processes and Disability Support Worker (DSW) communication. These changes have had a significant impact on operations, increasing operational efficiencies and productivity while reducing environmental impacts and print costs.
A self-directed corporate induction was also implemented, enabling employees to complete the orientation process on their mobile device. This new concept has improved record management, in particular with compliance requirements, as well as provided cost savings from the previous classroom facilitation.
A new recruitment method was also introduced during the year. The concept of Assessment Centres enable us to evaluate the skill and competency of multiple candidates at once. The efficient process was implemented in June 2018 and has significantly increased the number of DSW positions filled.
Quality & Safety
The Quality Risk and Safety department identifies opportunities for best practice and embeds continuous improvement within the organisation. As part of our ongoing commitment to a quality risk safety framework , Independence Australia enacted several new strategies for staff over the past year.
The organisation partnered with workforce management system e3Learning to introduce a series of online training courses in ‘Bullying and Harassment’ and ‘Occupational Health and Safety and Work Health and Safety’ fundamentals. The courses met our health and safety legal obligations while educating staff and improving workplace health and safety, and risk mitigation.
New compliance training was also delivered to Disability Support Workers in regional Victoria. The new Manual Handling and Infection Control sessions were held in Portland and Warrnambool, to identify health and safety concerns experienced by workers while providing in-home care. Several initiatives were also adapted to ensure hazardous manual handling tasks were identified and controls implemented to reduce the incidence rate of musculoskeletal disorders.
The organisation also successfully completed a surveillance audit against ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System and Department of Health and Human Services Standards. This included transitioning from ISO 9001:2008 to the ISO 9001:2015 and expanding the scope. The quality framework is transitioning to the updated NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework, and Independence Australia is committed to building a consistent and responsive model that supports all of our customers.