How the NDIS is changing my quality of life.

Written by Robert Wise – PDA VIC Associate Director

Firstly, I’d like to point out that there is certainly room for improvement to the NDIS. Everybody’s circumstances are different, always evolving and so plans cannot be simply formulaic. As a result there’s a lot of negative talk around the NDIS. However, I believe that we need to defend the NDIS. My blog post talks about the way in which I personally benefit from the NDIS.

In 2003 I became an amputee with one of my legs removed with an amputation known as a Hip disarticulation. As a result my life changed. I lost my job and I was unable to carry out household tasks such as vacuuming, mopping, cleaning, changing, washing bedding etc – the tasks that pre-amputation were carried out easily and without thinking.  

As I am single and live alone, with family scattered all over the country, the only help I could access was a 1.5 hour visit from my local council home help crew to help with these tasks. There was no help for social activities, shopping and other tasks that I needed.  Without the help of my parents for other tasks and getting me to some of my medical appointments life was difficult. I purchased a mobility scooter with my own money to help me get around in the community, to visit my local Men’s Shed and go shopping etc. 

In 2018, with the help of my GP, I received my first NDIS plan. It was a very basic plan with 12 months funding for domestic help in the home once a week, once a fortnight visits to do lawn mowing and some gardening and 1.5 hours a week for a support worker for social activities. Some funding was also provided for occupational therapy and physio. Also included was funding for a new Manual Wheelchair and a ramp into my backyard, which enabled me to go outside in my wheelchair independently to enjoy a coffee etc in my backyard (which can be hard to carry using crutches). 

The initial 12 month plan also allowed me to purchase a new lightweight, foldable manual wheelchair complete with tiedown points. This was a great help as my previous wheelchair did not have these, creating problems with one country Victoria coach refusing to carry me without these fitted on my wheelchair. On such occasions, I had to struggle out of my chair, up the bus steps and into a seat. 

My next plan included a very good report from my OT, which included funding for my ramp into my backyard. This incredible home modification was completed in between one of the many COVID Melbourne lockdowns. Additional funding was also granted for a support worker to help me with some of my social activities, shopping etc – also providing me with welcome company between my planned Men’s shed outings and other activities. 

I also received funding for increased occupational therapist hours that included preparation for a quote for a power assist device for my wheelchair. This was approved after a plan review and now I am a proud owner of a smooth one-power assist attachment for my manual wheelchair. This makes it much easier for me to use the chair when navigating steep hills or when fatigue sets in. 

The NDIS has also opened up my options socially and I now have help to play in a Tenpin Bowling league once a week.  I am also now able to enjoy trips to the park and beach (boardwalks only) with the help of a support worker, my new manual wheelchair and power assist. 

I also have some funding for One-on-one gym sessions to help maintain my fitness levels, with an occasional day in a group activity where I can enjoy fun activities like fishing and visiting zoos and other places of interest. Please watch out for up-and-coming videos of my Assisted Technology and home modifications. 

I would like to close by saying, that without the NDIS I would not be living the full and happy life that I am today.

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