Filling the Gap for Specialised Disability Support

By Liv Gorman

Specialised disability support can be hard to come by in the disability sector. There is a shortage of Support Workers and access to consistent and quality services. This places a lot of pressure on families with limited access, particularly for those with high-risk medical conditions. 

For Hearth Participants with a medically complex disability, this could mean training Support Workers to administer PRN medication or implement Emergency Response Plans. Other technical procedures facilitated by Hearth include catheterisation, peg feeding, suction technique, application of oximeter, among others. 

Initially, Hearth went through external training providers to supply Participants with specialised support. These options were not suitable for families, placed on six to eight week waiting lists with no other options. Hearth was determined to fill these gaps in training with the intention of providing Participants access to trained staff in shorter timeframes. 

Hearth decided to enlist help from registered nurse and doctor, Dr. Devi Ranasinghe who has worked in the sector for over 20 years. Dr. Ranasinghe meets with families to learn about each Participant’s needs and requirements; their personal support plans, medical equipment and the duration of required support. Devi trains Support Workers within Participants’ homes and can provide training within 1-2 weeks, making the service highly adaptable to Participant needs.

“The feedback we’ve had about Devi has been fantastic,” Head of Relationship Managers, Nellie Godwin says, “Our Participants describe her as warm and nurturing, with a keen willingness to learn about Participant’s lives and their unique situations. Devi minimises Support Worker anxiety, especially those commencing a relationship with high-complex Participants.” 

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