Half a million
community & residential hours of
5 shared supported
accommodation houses across Melbourne
in counselling sessions
20+ peer support group sessions
held for people with a disability and their families
in health and wellbeing group
in support coordination customers
Independence Australia provides specialist services for people living with a disability or other personal need. These include one-on-one supports in the home and community, psychology and counselling, therapy assistance, support coordination, and 24/7 shared supported accommodation across five houses in Melbourne. We work in partnership with a variety of agencies including the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), Transport Accident Commission (TAC), Commonwealth Department of Health and Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) to deliver a range of services, while others are independently funded or supported by our social enterprise.
In May we expanded the delivery of our disability services to NSW, providing support coordination and in-home services to people located in Western Sydney.
We introduced a specialist support coordination service to help customers facing additional challenges such as family breakdown, contact with the justice system and risk of homelessness, helping them to manage these issues while maintaining consistent service delivery. Growth and development in the Services division at Independence Australia has also resulted in the creation of a Complex Care Lead, a dedicated role to manage work within this area. Strong demand for access to the Independence Australia Complex Care Service Model has come from specialist agencies who are seeking programs that deliver outcomes.
Furthermore, the service team worked in partnership with Mobility Aids Australia to implement Independence Australia’s new person-centred occupational therapy service, providing customer assessments and linking them to tailored solutions to maximise their independence.
With a surge in demand for mental health support throughout the pandemic, we expanded our psychology and counselling model to increase supports for people living with a disability. Our one-to-one counselling sessions grew by fifty percent and our health and wellbeing groups were extended to provide new opportunities for our customers to connect with others online, reducing the negative effects of social isolation and loneliness. To ensure access to these services, the team assisted over one hundred and fifty support coordination and counselling customers to set up the technology required for telehealth.
Our support coordination team works with eligible NDIS funded participants of all ages across metropolitan Melbourne, regional Victoria, and Western Sydney. Our specialty is supporting people through life transition periods, including hospital to home transitions, housing exploration and self-directed capacity building for purposeful impact. In the last year, the team facilitated the successful discharge of thirteen people with complex disabilities and health needs from hospital and residential aged care, supporting them to transition to home settings.
Our shared supported accommodation service provides specialist supports to people living with a complex or significant disability across five homes throughout Melbourne. This year we welcomed six new residents to our shared supported accommodation houses, implementing personalised supports to suit their daily needs. In consultation with the Department of Families, Fairness & Housing we completed several home modifications across our sites and were successful in receiving a Commonwealth Continuity of Support grant to aid property updates at one of the sites.
In response to the global pandemic, adjustments were made in all areas of service delivery to ensure the continuation of safe and reliable supports for our customers. A large supply of PPE has been deployed on an ongoing basis for customer and staff use. This has been supported by additional workforce training in infection control and PPE use to ensure confidence in the delivery of community supports. houses, implementing personalised supports to suit their daily needs. In consultation with the DFFH we completed several home modifications across our sites and were successful in receiving a Commonwealth Continuity of Support grant to aid property updates at one of the sites.
Social Impact Project
This year, our social impact project, ‘Independence and disability: maximising impact and NDIS outcomes for disability service users’ undertaken in collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology, onboarded a PhD student to support the project. The research team were pleased to launch the online Research Hub which will be the platform used to communicate our joint research findings and sustainable solutions identified to address the challenges faced by our customers in their day-to-day lives. To learn more about the Social Impact Project, visit www.indaust.org.au/
Our Transport Accident Commission sponsored SpinChat program continued to raise awareness, promote prevention, and educate secondary school students about spinal cord injury through its new online delivery model, ‘SpinChat Online’, providing sessions for schools to access during school closures and lockdowns.
Young Ok lives with quadriplegia (C6-C7 incomplete spinal cord injury) sustained in a car accident while travelling overseas in 2015. Her spinal cord injury changed her life, sharing that “it has greatly limited my daily activities and is very challenging every day. I have lost a lot of independence and greatly dislike having to ask for assistance with things that I want to do.” But having access to support for her mental health through programs run by Independence Australia has helped greatly – “I have come to realise that people living with a spinal cord injury have a unique spectrum of difficulties…support from professionals with an insight and focus on these has been especially beneficial and supportive.”
Young Ok explained that the free of charge support offered by Independence Australia can help to break down barriers to access, “many people with a spinal cord injury have limited social interactions and support due to physical, financial, or mental challenges. The services from Independence Australia are invaluable to open-up access and actively encourage them to improve their lives mentally, socially and physically.”
Several hundred thousand
6 Distribution Centres
5 Education Day
12,000+ healthcare products
Independence Australia supplies more than 12,000 continence, wound care, skin care, nutritional and other healthcare products, mobility aids and equipment across Australia. We distribute up to 3,200 orders a day from our six distribution centres across the nation. As a social enterprise, part of the proceeds made from the sale of healthcare products, mobility aids and equipment go back into the community, supporting our core charitable purpose.
In the last year we experienced significant growth across the business delivering over 715,000 orders to our customers Australia wide. We extended our NDIS consumables customer base, and with a clear focus on customer experience, rolled out a new software solution to enhance the customer experience.
Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, we continued to provide fast and reliable service to our customers.
While some of our Education Day events were cancelled, we able to run events in Hobart, Adelaide, Newcastle, Sydney, and Wollongong. The healthcare professionals who attended these health education and networking events provided overwhelmingly positive feedback. These are becoming must attend events which help health professionals and nurses who work in varying settings connect with suppliers and industry experts to upskill their product knowledge and enhance the treatment and support that they provide.
At the conclusion of the year, we were pleased to announce that we have retained the contract for delivery of the National Epidermolysis Bullosa Dressing Scheme (NEBDS) on behalf of the Commonwealth Department of Health.
Mobility Aids Australia is a leading supplier of rehabilitation and healthcare equipment in Victoria and offers a large range of electric scooters, powered wheelchairs, electric lift chairs, electric beds, manual wheelchairs, lifting hoists, walkers, day chairs and nursing beds.
Mobility Aids Australia continued to grow while adapting to a new ‘appointment only’ model for visits to their showroom to mitigate risks related to the pandemic. We launched our new occupational therapy service, providing our customers with clinical expertise and assessments to help them select the best equipment to meet their individual needs.
KinCare, a major national homecare and disability care provider, partnered with Independence Australia two years ago to provide personal care and healthcare
products to their customer network.
National Procurement Manager for KinCare, Shane Tambimuttu explains that by working with their Independence Australia account manager they were able to “develop and implement systems that provided our care managers with the tools to place orders and get products delivered to our customers in a
timely manner.” The partnership has grown to
a point that all KinCare’s orders are now placed online through the Independence Australia web portal, providing streamlined management, transparency and accountability.
Shane Tambimuttu concludes by stating
that “given that we are a community care provider, we also acknowledge the work that Independence Australia does with the community which contributes towards our motivation to partner with their organisation.”
This year the marketing team focused on generating fresh and innovative content to enhance the customer journey. New videos, animations, brochures, micro sites, and fact sheets were created and interspersed into the physical and digital journey, to help our customers access specific service and product information suited to their unique needs.
We cultivated a robust collection of customer stories, sharing positive firsthand experiences of Independence Australia’s services and products. These stories, communicated in both video and written mediums, explain how and why they choose Independence Australia as their product or service provider and help others understand what we do. Similarly, these positive outcomes have helped us to communicate the impact that our social enterprise can have on the lives of the people we support.
Our core charitable purpose is funded though the supply of healthcare products and services, mobility aids and equipment. A strong focus of our communications activities over the past year have highlighted this to our target customers and networks of staff across Australia, helping them better understand who we are and what we do. We have developed external and internal marketing material, including brochures and video content that support this message and work to explain our ‘social enterprise’.
We were able to enhance our specialised offering for prescribers through the development of new wound care and nutrition resources to help customers assess our product offerings quickly and easily in these ranges.
Finally, despite the cancellation of our 2020 Daddo Charity Golf Day event due to ongoing lockdowns, thanks to the generous support of our donors, we were able to deliver fantastic results from our fundraising campaigns. Funds generated from these campaigns are used to support our much-needed psychology and counselling service for people living with a disability and their families.
Part time / casual
The People Experience team is responsible for delivering the workforce planning and capability component of the Organisation’s strategic direction.
In partnership with our leaders, the team is responsible for managing the employee lifecycle, skills enhancement and development, and design and administration of activities to enhance the employee experience to attract and retain talent.
During what proved to be a challenging year for many, People Experience, in partnership with the Health and Safety team rolled out several initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of our dedicated staff and keep the workplace safe. The team ensured necessary supports were provided to help our employees overcome challenges presented by the pandemic and delivered consistent information to help them to make informed decisions to keep our workplace, customers, and
Staff and their families were supported to access specialist counselling services through the Employee Assistance Program to help manage increased stress and anxiety associated with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. The program which provides employees and their family members free and confidential access to short term counselling and referrals, experienced a significant forty-five percent increase
The Quality and Safety team support the business in the assessment and management of operational and occupational risks.
This is achieved through an integrated risk management approach in compliance with the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Standard and NDIS Practice Standards.
As part of our ongoing commitment to the safety of our customers and staff, we continued to develop safe working practices to manage new risks presented by the pandemic and implemented a specialised risk assessment framework to improve quality of care outcomes for our complex care customers.
We continued to maintain compliance with the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System Standards, with the successful completion of our re-certification audit. Furthermore, our inaugural audit under the NDIS Practice Standard Certification was completed, allowing us to maintain registration as an NDIS provider.