61-year old Tom* has an ABI as a result of a stroke 20 years ago, which also resulted in right-side paralysis and has significantly affected his speech. He is currently supported by Coordinator Jo McKee and Support Workers Matt, Clinton and Arron.

* client’s name changed to protect their privacy

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Before his stroke, Tom served in the Australian Armed Forces and was a truck driver. As well as problems with speech and memory, Tom has struggled with feelings of paranoia and the frustration of not being able to communicate his thoughts effectively. Coordinator Jo said that these issues have drastically improved in the last year of Tom’s life, particularly since his move to his own home after spending several years living at a local caravan park.

As well as encouraging Tom to apply for a Department of Housing home, his team also supported him to make as many of the choices regarding the housing options for himself. Within a short period of moving to his new home, the team noticed a great improvement in his self-confidence and general wellbeing, particularly a significant reduction in feelings of paranoia.

When Support Worker Matt Pouwelsen started working with Tom two years ago, he realised that not only was he forgetting to take his medications but also experienced difficulty understanding the administration instructions when he did remember. Matt and Tom then collaborated on a unique solution – 2 medications boxes both using visual cues to help Tom differentiate day and night medications as well as a method of indicating the correct day and date which was not confusing to Tom.

Matt also created a magnetic wall calendar for Tom which holds visual cues which now assists him not only to recognise the day and date but also monitor his own appointments. These simple solutions have led to a great increase in Tom’s health and wellbeing, improved his self-esteem and his ability to manage with living independently more confidently.

Difficulty with communication has been an ongoing source of frustration for Tom, however his team have supported him in this area with great results in the past year. Tom attended Arron’s Ipad training sessions at 56 Cockburn Road and Arron and Clinton have devised a series of visual cues that he can use to text simple messages for examples symbols for “Would you like to meet up for a coffee?” or “Please send a taxi now”. The team continue to devise and trial new communications strategies to support Tom.

Service Manager Tanya Campbell is very excited by the outcomes achieved by this team in recent years. Tanya said:

It is obvious the team knows Tom well, understands how his ABI affects his life and has established a supportive and trusting relationship with him. This positive rapport has provided a solid base for the team to explore new and innovative ways to overcome some of the obstacles he faces in his day to day life. This has ultimately led to better outcomes and an improved quality of life. For someone who receives minimal support, the outcomes achieved are truly outstanding.

Photo of Support Worker, Matt

Support Worker – Matt

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