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Coming through tough times together

For many people with disability who access the NDIS, support coordination services provide a crucial link between the NDIA, local service providers and families. This year William Gibbeson, or Billy as he is known by those closest to him, experienced some major life changes where support coordination made all the difference.  

In early 2019 Billy, who is 60-years-old and has Down syndrome and myoclonic seizures, began experiencing more frequent seizures and declining mobility. This meant several visits to and from hospital. 

Achieve Australia’s Support Coordinator, Rachel Lui, has been supporting Billy for two years and helped him and his family through this difficult period.

“Due to Billy’s disability, he could not communicate with the doctors when he was hospitalised, and being in a medical environment can be scary for anyone when you are around people you don’t know,” explains Rachel. But at the time Billy’s regular staff, who knew him so well, weren’t able to work in the hospital to support him as the care transfers to the hospital. 

To help, Rachel worked closely with the hospital staff so that at least one support worker that Billie was familiar with could support him at certain times during his stay. This was to ensure he wasn’t alone without the staff he knows and trusts, and to help support in his recovery. 

Billy’s sister, Susan Gibbeson, says that throughout Billy’s hospitalisations there were some delays in his treatment, which impacted further on his mobility and home life 

“Billy needs to use a wheelchair now and this then made his current home no longer accessible for his needs,” she says. “At that time, Billy had been living with the same group of friends for about 30 years, along with his regular carers and support staff. It was like leaving a family.” 

These significant changes meant that specialist help was needed to find Billy the right home, housemates and support staff for his needs. Rachel supported Billy and Susan through the transition by applying for additional funding including a submission of 15 specialist reports of around 100 pages to the NDIA – and worked tirelessly to find the right home.  

Soon after, the right property match for Billy was found, which would meet all his mobility, social and support needs. Rachel then organised a meeting and additional training sessions for Billy’s new team at Achieve Australia, to ensure staff were well-informed of his individual support needs.  

Rachel is an exceptional Support Coordinator and has been instrumental in finding the right property, staff and housemates for Billy,” says Sandra. “She’s been there with us every step of the way.”  

nearly one year on, Billy is enjoying his new home and has become familiar with his surroundings. Every week, Billy takes a visit to keep in touch with his lifelong friends, including Andy Osbourne whom he lived with for many years. The pair share a special bond. 

“Billy and Andy are always having fun and laughing. They have grown up together and enjoy watching movies, listening to heavy metal music and playing jokes on the staff,” says Susan. 

After what has been a challenging year, the future looks bright for Billy as he continues to enjoy the comforts of home and the close connections he has fostered throughout his life.  

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