MSWA Bulletin Magazine Spring 2021

What is assistive technology and how can it help you? | Good health monitoring practices | Pain and pain management series: Part 2 | Farewell Marcus Stafford

What is assistive technology and how can it help you? | Good health monitoring practices | Pain and pain management series: Part 2 | Farewell Marcus Stafford


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THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF <strong>MSWA</strong><br />

<strong>Spring</strong> <strong>2021</strong><br />

mswa.org.au<br />

INSIDE<br />

/ What is assistive technology<br />

and how can it help you?<br />

/ Good health monitoring practices<br />

/ Pain and pain management<br />

series: Part 2<br />

Blooming Disordered Exchange by <strong>MSWA</strong> Client<br />

Rachael Lemon (more on page 25).<br />

/ Farewell Marcus Stafford



29 Parkhill Way 9365 4888<br />

Fax 9451 4453<br />

Freecall 1800 287 367<br />

See Health Team Dept contacts on this page<br />




Nicola Washington 9365 4840<br />


Carol Chong 9365 4873<br />

NDIS TEAM 9365 4824<br />


Wilson Outreach 9365 4830<br />

Beechboro Lodge 9377 7800<br />

Southside Outreach 9592 9202<br />

Albany Outreach 6154 5149<br />

Bunbury 6454 2800<br />




Sue Shapland 6454 3174<br />


Manager, Alimul Tasin 9385 9574<br />


Manager, Danuta Figurska 9356 2747<br />


Manager, Jo Nouwland 9331 5780<br />



Manager, Linda Kidd 9725 9209<br />



Manager, Chris Rush 6154 5120<br />


If you would like to comment on anything<br />

you read in this <strong>Bulletin</strong> please email<br />

bulletin@mswa.org.au or write to<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong>, Locked Bag 2, Bentley DC WA 6983<br />

For general feedback or complaints please<br />

contact Michelle John 6454 3173 or<br />

feedback@mswa.org.au<br />


Sue Shapland, Nicola Washington, Libby<br />

Cassidy, Jamey Claffey, Tracey Hockey and<br />

Nicolette Murphy.<br />


Geoff Hutchinson, Carol Chong,<br />

Dajana Tesevic, Vanishree Chetti,<br />

Denise Vogels, James Beckett<br />

and Crystal Chan.<br />

The Editorial Working Group welcomes<br />

unsolicited submissions.<br />

All articles are subject to a reviewing<br />

process. The views expressed are those<br />

of the authors and do not necessarily<br />

reflect the view of <strong>MSWA</strong>’s staff, advisors,<br />

directors or officers.<br />

Our neurological liaison nurses are usually the first point of contact after the<br />

neurologist’s diagnosis.<br />



Our team provides treatment interventions to develop and maintain mobility<br />

and function.<br />



Occupational Therapists enable Clients to continue their work and other interests<br />

for as long as possible through advice, aids and equipment.<br />

CRYSTAL CHAN, MANAGER: 9365 4804 OR OT DEPARTMENT: 9365 4888<br />


Our Speech Pathologists assess, diagnose and create individualised treatment<br />

programs for Clients who experience swallowing and/or communication difficulties.<br />

PAMELA WINDRAM, MANAGER: 6454 3140<br />


Dietitians are university-qualified nutrition experts who promote general health<br />

and disease prevention/management through dietary changes.<br />

PAMELA WINDRAM, MANAGER: 6454 3140<br />


Talking with a Counsellor creates a safe, respectful and confidential environment<br />

for you and those close to you to explore options, create change or gain<br />

understanding about your life.<br />




Social Welfare Officers assist Clients and their families to access services<br />

and supports to remain living independently at home. They specialise in case<br />

management, advocacy and sourcing funding options.<br />

KATH KNIGHTS, MANAGER: 9365 4835<br />


We provide long-term and time limited in-home supports including assistance<br />

with personal care for people with MS, to help them remain in their homes.<br />

Care and supports are provided through a combination of funding from the<br />

Department of Communities - Disability Services, and our own fundraising efforts.<br />

VICTORIA AMEY, MANAGER: 9365 4851<br />


Our experienced teams will provide you with personalised support right<br />

throughout your NDIS journey. From helping you to access the NDIS to working<br />

with you to get the most from your plan, our trained staff are here to help.<br />



<strong>MSWA</strong> provides separate recreation camps for Clients, carers, and families,<br />

primarily funded by Lotterywest, and for a nominal cost to participants.<br />

These camps provide a break from daily routines, and strengthen friendships<br />

and support networks.<br />



<strong>MSWA</strong> delivers all levels of Home Care Packages to eligible people with<br />

a neurological condition who are over 65. Services are delivered by staff<br />

specifically trained in home care for older Australians who are living with a<br />

neurological condition.<br />




Welcome to the spring <strong>2021</strong> edition of <strong>Bulletin</strong>. We hope you enjoy the news, stories and<br />

service information we have brought to you this quarter.<br />




OPTIONS ........................... 4<br />


MEMBER & CLIENT SERVICES ....... 5<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> CLIENT FORUM <strong>2021</strong> ......... 6<br />



RESEARCH ROUND UP. ........... 8-11<br />



CONTROVERSIAL PLAN. ............12<br />







CONNECTING WITH NATURE . .......17<br />




IN ALBANY .........................19<br />



HOW CAN IT HELP YOU?. ....... 20-21<br />

FAREWELL MARCUS!. ........... 22-23<br />


IN FOCUS ...................... 24-25<br />


EXCHANGE . ....................... 25<br />


UPDATE. .......................... 26<br />


CHAIR PING INVENTOR . ........... 27<br />


MARGARET DOODY HOUSE. ....... 28<br />


OT GROUPS. ....................... 28<br />

INCLUSION FOR ALL. .............. 29<br />


ROCKINGHAM. .................... 30<br />


<strong>MSWA</strong> WILSON. ................... 30<br />


CLOSURE DATES ...................31<br />









“Only look back to see how<br />

far you have come.”<br />

Winnie the Pooh.<br />

Now, who knew Winnie the Pooh<br />

was so wise? How true is this<br />

great saying, and it applies in so<br />

many ways!<br />

There have – and will be – many<br />

times we reflect and remember<br />

where we have come from, but<br />

often we don’t do it enough. We are<br />

so busy looking forward and just<br />

doing the job, that we don’t stop to<br />

see what we have achieved and feel<br />

a bit proud. But we should.<br />

Take <strong>MSWA</strong> – we are 50 next year<br />

– that’s a long way to look back,<br />

but the journey is worth thinking<br />

about. Back in 1972, when MS was<br />

hard to diagnose and there were no<br />

treatments, a small number of WA<br />

folks established a support group.<br />

And look where we are now!<br />

There are over 12 treatments,<br />

diagnosis is much easier<br />

and <strong>MSWA</strong> now proudly<br />

supports people living with all<br />

neurological conditions.<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> has grown significantly over<br />

the last 19 years in particular and<br />

experienced great success in so<br />

many ways, and that can be directly<br />

linked back to when Marcus Stafford<br />

joined the organisation as CEO. As<br />

you know Marcus said farewell to us<br />

in October; we all wish him well and<br />

he will be greatly missed!<br />

Under Marcus’ expertise and<br />

stewardship, with the support of<br />

the <strong>MSWA</strong> Board, management,<br />

and staff, we have achieved great<br />

success and risen to heights many<br />

can only dream of. At the core of<br />

this success has been the desire to<br />

advocate for, and support our Clients<br />

to have, a better quality of life and<br />

better outcomes. Pre-NDIS, <strong>MSWA</strong><br />

allocated funds (raised through our<br />

events, raffles and of course the<br />

Mega Home Lottery) to supplement<br />

government funding. This allowed<br />

us to build new accommodation<br />

and services centres and of course<br />

to grow our commitment to<br />

neurological research. Looking back<br />

really shows us how far we have<br />

come and what has been achieved.<br />

Then it’s head down and follow the<br />

course as there’s so much more to<br />

be done!<br />

On a personal note, I joined <strong>MSWA</strong><br />

in 2003, having been recruited<br />

by Marcus. The long list of<br />

achievements are certainly not lost<br />

on me. I would like to thank Marcus<br />

for being at the helm of what is now<br />

a super yacht and wish him all the<br />

best with his next chapter!<br />

We are really getting excited now<br />

as construction of the Albany<br />

development ploughs ahead<br />

and we plan to open in March<br />

next year. Both the supported<br />

accommodation units and the<br />

Services Centre will be amazing; I<br />

can’t wait to see the end product<br />

once it’s all fitted out.<br />

As most people have heard we have<br />

proudly committed $10 million for<br />

neurological research this year – that<br />

is amazing in anyone’s language. We<br />

are proudly supporting a number of<br />

WA-based projects and we will keep<br />

you updated on their progress and<br />

any opportunities for participation.<br />

The recent Client Forum showcased<br />

some of the talent and we did film<br />

the session and the links will be<br />

shared for those interested.<br />

<strong>Spring</strong> has sprung, although winter<br />

was threatening to return at one<br />

stage, and Christmas is looming. I<br />

hope we all get some family time<br />

over the break and that COVID<br />

doesn’t spoil our fun. I think the last<br />

eighteen months have reaffirmed<br />

how great it is to live in WA!<br />

Take care, we look forward to a new<br />

year with hopefully more freedom<br />

to move around for those itching to<br />

travel. Please stay safe.<br />


MEMBER &<br />





Welcome to the spring<br />

edition of our Member<br />

& Client Services<br />

<strong>Bulletin</strong>… and Christmas<br />

is almost here!<br />

The year is flying by, and we have<br />

been keeping busy with many<br />

exciting projects that are in the<br />

process of being implemented to<br />

deliver improved services to you,<br />

our Clients.<br />

Our Albany Services Centre<br />

and High-Support Accommodation<br />

facility is progressing well. I visited<br />

the site with Andrea Taylor at the<br />

end of September and it really<br />

is looking incredible. The space<br />

is fantastic and is going to be<br />

very special for our Clients to<br />

utilise services.<br />

It will also be a great place to<br />

work. We are already looking for<br />

expressions of interest from the<br />

local community across a number<br />

of roles. It’s a very exciting time<br />

and we are all looking forward<br />

to servicing the Great Southern<br />

region from this wonderful Centre<br />

and providing the much needed<br />

high-support accommodation with<br />

the 10 new units that are being built.<br />

We are also busy with the<br />

implementation of new IT systems<br />

across several of our business areas.<br />

We are upgrading and replacing<br />

our current systems to improve<br />

efficiency and service delivery. Our<br />

aim is to streamline our processes<br />

and improve our communication<br />

for both our staff and Clients to<br />

provide an improved experience<br />

for everyone. Implementations of<br />

these upgrades will continue well<br />

into 2022.<br />

Our Client Forum was held on<br />

15 September and was a great<br />

success. We were very lucky to<br />

have presenters from ECU, Curtin<br />

University and the Perron Institute<br />

who provided great insight into<br />

the latest research and technology.<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> is very proud to contribute<br />

its largest donation to research<br />

with a record $10 million donated<br />

this year. This funding will continue<br />

to help and assist our partners<br />

with innovative research across<br />

neurological conditions. I would<br />

like to thank the staff involved in<br />

making this event enjoyable and<br />

successful. As always, we welcome<br />

your feedback and would love<br />

to hear from you about this<br />

event. Please email us at<br />

feedback@mswa.org.au<br />

I would like to take this opportunity<br />

to wish a fond farewell to our CEO<br />

Marcus Stafford. Marcus has been<br />

an inspirational leader and has<br />

driven <strong>MSWA</strong> to be the successful<br />

organisation it is today, supporting<br />

people living with neuro conditions<br />

and helping to improve their lives.<br />

Thank you, Marcus, for your fantastic<br />

leadership and friendship – you will<br />

be missed. Enjoy the next chapter<br />

of your life and I hope you get a<br />

chance to improve your golf swing.<br />

Finally... Christmas. Yes, we are<br />

nearly there. The good news is<br />

that we will be holding our Client<br />

and Volunteer Christmas Party on<br />

Thursday, 2 December <strong>2021</strong>. We<br />

missed our party last year, so we are<br />

looking forward to catching up with<br />

everyone and celebrating. Look out<br />

for more information on page 31.<br />



<strong>MSWA</strong> CLIENT FORUM <strong>2021</strong><br />

Thank you to all those who came along to another informative <strong>MSWA</strong> Client Forum on 15<br />

September. Special thanks also to our guest speakers who offered us an exclusive window into<br />

their respective fields of research and/or professional expertise:<br />

/ Professor Allan Kermode, The Perron Institute<br />

(pictured)<br />

/ Professor John Mamo, Curtin University<br />

/ Dr Onno van der Groen, Edith Cowan University<br />

/ <strong>MSWA</strong> Respiratory Physiotherapy team<br />

/ Vanishree Chetti, <strong>MSWA</strong> Manager Nursing<br />

/ Geoff Hutchinson,<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> Manager Customer Engagement<br />




Lucinda Black is a nutrition researcher at Curtin University.<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> has been investing in her vital neurological research<br />

since 2016.<br />

“The people with MS I’ve<br />

met are so enthusiastic<br />

about making positive<br />

changes in their lives. And,<br />

as a researcher, that’s really<br />

inspiring for me as well.”<br />


“I started working in research about<br />

15 years ago,” explains Associate<br />

Professor Lucinda Black. “I was<br />

focusing on vitamin D and it led me<br />

to the study of multiple sclerosis,<br />

because there is a link between<br />

low vitamin D status and higher<br />

risk of MS. At the time, there was a<br />

big gap in knowledge around MS<br />

and diet in general. I realised there<br />

was an opportunity to develop<br />

stronger evidence.”<br />

Lucinda is currently leading a<br />

research program in diet and MS,<br />

here in WA. She explains that the<br />

program has two areas of focus:<br />

“One is to help strengthen the<br />

evidence we have around diet and<br />

MS so that we can better understand<br />

what diets, foods or nutrients might<br />

be beneficial for people. The second<br />

is sharing the information in a clear<br />

and accessible way.<br />

“There’s a lot of confusing<br />

information presented online and<br />

it’s very hard to navigate for anyone,<br />

but especially for people who might<br />

be under stress because they’ve<br />

had a serious diagnosis. So we’re<br />

designing an online diet education<br />

program. It’s tailored to people with<br />

MS, which is key.”<br />

Lucinda reveals that the education<br />

program is being co-designed<br />

by people with MS to ensure it<br />

reflects their needs, engages<br />

them, and ultimately educates<br />

them on ways to improve their<br />

day-to-day lives whilst living with a<br />

neurological condition.<br />

“What’s really exciting is that people<br />

with MS in WA have been so keen<br />

to be involved in research. They are<br />

volunteering their time, they have<br />

experience, they have knowledge<br />

and ideas. Without that input, we<br />

wouldn’t be producing such highquality<br />

research.”<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong>’S INVESTMENT<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> began funding Lucinda<br />

Black’s research in 2016.<br />

“It was around that time that I’d<br />

identified that there was a lot of<br />

misinformation about diet in relation<br />

to MS, so I proposed a project that<br />

would help strengthen the evidence<br />

around it,” says Lucinda.<br />

“It was <strong>MSWA</strong> that funded that first<br />

project and, since then, through<br />

help from <strong>MSWA</strong>, I’ve developed a<br />

research team that now includes<br />

staff, students and many national<br />

and international collaborators, so<br />

we’re able to conduct impactful<br />

research, right here in WA.”<br />


Lucinda explains that there’s a<br />

really positive feeling amongst<br />

herself and other WA-based<br />

neurological researchers because of<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong>’s support.<br />

“Because of the high level of<br />

funding, we’re able to start research<br />

here. We may take it nationally –<br />

there might be multi-centre trials<br />

– but the research will always start<br />

in WA and that’s a real benefit for<br />

people living with neurological<br />

conditions here.”<br />

Lucinda says the Western<br />

Australians who take part in her<br />

research are a major part of what<br />

drives her. “What I’ve found is that<br />

people with MS are so interested<br />

and engaged. They are passionate<br />

about making changes in their own<br />

lives to help manage their disease. I<br />

find it really inspiring to be around<br />

people who are so proactive. It<br />

gives me hope for a positive future<br />

for people with MS and other<br />

neurological conditions.”<br />

Lucinda says she was thrilled about<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong>’s recent record-breaking<br />

funding announcement.<br />

“<strong>MSWA</strong> has funded my research for<br />

the past six years and they’ve just<br />

announced a huge contribution of<br />

$10m to neurological research this<br />

year. I’m absolutely delighted to be<br />

part of this funding. It couldn’t be<br />

a better time to be a researcher for<br />

neurological conditions in WA.”<br />

Lucinda will use this year’s funding<br />

to continue to grow a strong team<br />

here in WA who are working to<br />

answer the many unanswered<br />

questions people have about<br />

the role of diet in the onset and<br />

progression of MS.<br />




ROUND UP<br />






Read more at:<br />

multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com<br />

MS symptoms often apparent<br />

years before diagnosis; Marisa<br />

Wexler MS; June 24, <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

A new study suggests that many<br />

people with multiple sclerosis (MS)<br />

experience symptoms several years<br />

before diagnosis.<br />

It has long been known people with<br />

MS tend to seek medical attention<br />

more frequently in the years before<br />

diagnosis than those without the<br />

disease. There has been debate as to<br />

whether this is a result of MS itself,<br />

or a prodromal phase of the disease.<br />

A team of researchers in Munich<br />

analysed data in an effort to address<br />

this question. Their findings were<br />

published in the journal Neurology,<br />

in the study, ‘Systematic Assessment<br />

of Medical Diagnoses Preceding the<br />

First Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis’.<br />

They reviewed medical data for<br />

10,262 people with MS in the five years<br />

prior to diagnosis, and compared it<br />

with other groups including Crohn’s<br />

disease and psoriasis which are also<br />

autoimmune.<br />

Relative to the other groups, MS<br />

patients had significantly higher<br />

frequencies of certain medical<br />

issues. Notably, most of the issues<br />

that were more frequent among<br />

MS patients “represent symptoms<br />

suggestive of demyelinating events<br />

or other neurologic diagnoses,” the<br />

researchers wrote.<br />

The patients appear to have been<br />

experiencing MS-like symptoms<br />

years before their diagnosis. Based<br />

on this, the researchers think<br />

patients are not experiencing a<br />

distinct prodromal disease phase,<br />

but instead are dealing with<br />

symptoms of unrecognised MS.<br />

These findings may have important<br />

implications for MS diagnosis and<br />

treatment, the team said.<br />

“The sooner MS is recognised, the<br />

better we can treat the disease. We<br />

now need to take a closer look at<br />

which early symptoms of MS might<br />

be overlooked. This could allow<br />

us to recognise the disease at an<br />

earlier stage and thus enable earlier<br />

treatment initiation,” said Christiane<br />

Gasperi, physician, researcher and<br />

co-author of the study.<br />

Deep brain stimulation may help<br />

with MS-associated tremors; Marta<br />

Figueiredo PhD; October 5, <strong>2021</strong><br />

A review study has found that deep<br />

brain stimulation (DBS) effectively<br />

reduces tremors in people with<br />

MS but may lead to worsening<br />

symptoms and speech problems.<br />

While these findings support<br />

the use of DBS for treating this<br />

common, disabling symptom,<br />

larger studies using standardised<br />

measures of tremors would help<br />

to assess the risk-benefit profile<br />

of DBS accurately in this patient<br />

population.<br />

The study, ‘Deep brain stimulation<br />

for multiple sclerosis tremor: A<br />

systematic review and metaanalysis’<br />

was published in the<br />

journal Multiple Sclerosis and<br />

Related Disorders.<br />





Tremors are one of the most<br />

common symptoms of MS,<br />

affecting 25% to 58% of patients,<br />

being severe in 3%–15% of cases.<br />

The arms, legs, head, trunk, and<br />

vocal cords are the most commonly<br />

affected. For many people with MS,<br />

tremors can be debilitating enough<br />

to severely impair quality of life and<br />

are challenging to treat.<br />

DBS is approved, and successful, for<br />

Parkinson’s disease and essential<br />

tremor, and has also been used<br />

for the treatment of severe MSassociated<br />

tremors when other<br />

treatments have failed. Electrodes<br />

are surgically implanted in the brain<br />

to stimulate the thalamus — an<br />

area involved in motor function —<br />

with electric impulses. The amount<br />

of stimulation is controlled by a<br />

pacemaker-like device placed<br />

under the skin, near the collarbone.<br />

A team of researchers in Iran<br />

systematically reviewed studies<br />

published up to March <strong>2021</strong> that<br />

investigated the effects of DBS on<br />

MS-related tremors. From a total of<br />

1,663 studies, 17 — covering 162 MS<br />

patients — were included in the<br />

meta-analysis.<br />

Results showed that the pooled rate<br />

of tremor reduction was 73% (range<br />

of 22%–100%) and that DBS led to<br />

a significant reduction in tremor<br />

scores, by a mean of -2.9 points.<br />

One study reported improvements<br />

in quality of life among patients<br />

showing tremor reductions<br />

following DBS.<br />

“The result of this systematic review<br />

and meta-analysis demonstrates<br />

that MS-related tremor improves<br />

after DBS,” the researchers wrote.<br />

But given the high variability<br />

between studies in terms of<br />

follow-up duration and tremor<br />

assessment, as well as the low<br />

number of included patients,<br />

larger studies using standardised<br />

measures are needed to better<br />

assess the intervention’s benefits in<br />

this patient population, they added.<br />


Read more at: biomedcentral.com<br />

Longitudinal observational study<br />

of boxing therapy in Parkinson’s<br />

disease, including adverse impacts<br />

of the COVID-19 lockdown; Craig<br />

Horbinski, et al.<br />

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a highly<br />

prevalent neurodegenerative<br />

disease whose incidence<br />

is increasing with an aging<br />

population. One of the most serious<br />

manifestations is gait instability,<br />

leading to falls and subsequent<br />

complications that can be<br />

debilitating, even fatal.<br />

Boxing therapy (BT) uses gait<br />

and balance exercises to improve<br />

ambulation in people with PD,<br />

though its efficacy has not yet been<br />

fully proven.<br />

In the current longitudinal<br />

observational study, 98 participants<br />

with idiopathic PD underwent<br />

twice-weekly BT sessions. Primary<br />

outcome was self-reported falls per<br />

month; secondary outcomes were<br />

quantitative and semi-quantitative<br />

gait and balance performance<br />

evaluations.<br />

Twice per week, each participant<br />

worked with their trainer on specific<br />

boxing-related exercises aimed<br />

at improving overall coordination,<br />

gait, and balance. The program<br />

consists of hundreds of exercises/<br />

skill sets, broken down into three<br />

main phases. At the beginning of<br />

each month, including before the<br />

very first session, each participant<br />

was asked to estimate how many<br />

falls they had experienced the prior<br />

month.<br />

The average number of self-reported<br />

falls per month per participant<br />

decreased by 87%, during BT.<br />

During the lockdown imposed by<br />

COVID-19, this increased per month.<br />

Females and those > 65 years old<br />

reported the greatest increase in<br />

falls during the lockdown period.<br />

Post-lockdown resumption of BT<br />

resulted in another decline in falls.<br />

Quantitative performance metrics,<br />

including standing from a seated<br />

position and standing on one leg,<br />

largely mirrored the pattern of falls<br />

pre-and post-lockdown; concluding<br />

that BT may be an effective option<br />

for many PD patients.<br />





Read more at: neura.edu.au<br />

The physiology of improved<br />

functional movement with Wii<br />

therapy; Dr Penelope McNulty<br />

Successful rehabilitation after stroke<br />

is limited by many factors including<br />

trained personnel, equipment, time,<br />

and money.<br />

“One of the biggest impediments in<br />

rehabilitation is patient compliance<br />

and motivation. We have developed<br />

a novel rehabilitation strategy using<br />

the Nintendo Wii; it’s fun, cheap, and<br />

can be used in patients’ homes.”<br />

This intense but flexible program<br />

can be adapted to the individual<br />

patient’s needs and can be used<br />

for patients with good upper limb<br />

function and those with poor<br />

function.<br />

“Now that we know Wii therapy<br />

works, we need to understand how<br />

and why it works. This will allow<br />

us to further refine and develop<br />

Wii therapy so that more patients<br />

can benefit from post-stroke<br />

rehabilitation.”<br />


Read more at stroke.org.uk<br />

Can automated stroke diagnosis<br />

help reduce its effects? University<br />

of Edinburgh, Dr Grant Mair.<br />

Stroke strikes every five minutes in<br />

the UK and it’s crucial that stroke<br />

patients are treated quickly and<br />

effectively to reduce the likelihood<br />

of death and severe disability.<br />

In very busy hospitals, there may<br />

be delays and scans can be hard<br />

to interpret even for the most<br />

experienced professionals. Artificial<br />

intelligence (AI) computer software<br />

can assist humans to interpret brain<br />

scans and they are increasingly<br />

available for use in healthcare.<br />

More research that is also<br />

independent of the companies<br />

producing the software is needed<br />

to ensure that they do increase the<br />

accuracy and speed of diagnosis,<br />

they are safe and good value for<br />

money.<br />

The researchers tested an AI<br />

software, called e-ASPECTS,<br />

developed by Brainomix Ltd Oxford<br />

UK to understand if it should be<br />

used for diagnosis of stroke in<br />

hospitals.<br />

The team looked at how well<br />

the software can identify and<br />

quantify damage to the brain<br />

caused by stroke compared to a<br />

human expert, as well as how well<br />

it identifies underlying causes of<br />

stroke symptoms eg, stroke caused<br />

by blood clot vs a bleed in the brain.<br />

They also looked at if certain clinical<br />

(eg, patient age, stroke severity)<br />

or imaging characteristics (eg,<br />

stroke type, position of patient<br />

in the scanner) have an effect on<br />

differences between the software<br />

and human diagnoses.<br />

The team will determine if using the<br />

software can save time in diagnosis<br />

of stroke compared to various<br />

types of clinicians involved in<br />

stroke care and using the software<br />

increases confidence of clinicians<br />

and influences their decisions in<br />

diagnosing stroke.<br />

The researchers collated over 4000<br />

patient brain scans from nine<br />

studies, making this the biggest<br />

ever analysis of this software. The<br />

final results for software accuracy<br />

will be published soon. Testing with<br />

professionals is ongoing.<br />

This research sets a precedent for<br />

independent testing of AI software<br />

in stroke, which can improve stroke<br />

care by ensuring the best software<br />

is used. The results of this research<br />

and similar studies will help NHS<br />

trusts and other organisations<br />

make informed decisions when<br />

purchasing AI software.<br />


Read more at:<br />

huntingtonsvic.org.au/research<br />

Targeting the Huntington’s Disease<br />

Gut Microbiome; Yifat Glikmann-<br />

Johnston.<br />

Research Duration:<br />

January <strong>2021</strong> – December 2022<br />

Recruitment Dates:<br />

April <strong>2021</strong> – September 22<br />

Many people with Huntington’s<br />

disease (HD) lose weight<br />

unintentionally and experience<br />

gastrointestinal disturbances,<br />

which affect their quality of life.<br />

As people with HD struggle with<br />

symptoms that lack adequate<br />

treatments, there is a critical<br />

need to understand how nonpharmacological<br />

interventions such<br />

as lifestyle factors (eg, diet, exercise,<br />

sleep) can be used to enhance<br />

quality of life until appropriate<br />

pharmacological treatments are<br />

found.<br />


This research project is investigating<br />

the bacteria within the gut and the<br />

relationship between gut health<br />

and clinical indicators of HD such<br />

as mood, weight, and thinking and<br />

memory.<br />

“Our study is completely remote,<br />

meaning that participants can<br />

do the study from home. We use<br />

online questionnaires, cognitive<br />

tasks via mobile app and telehealth,<br />

and ask for a faecal sample to be<br />

sent by post.<br />

Results of this research will provide<br />

the knowledge we need about<br />

the HD gut to make lifestyle<br />

recommendations and inform<br />

other interventions that can help<br />

with gastrointestinal symptoms (eg,<br />

change in diet, taking supplements<br />

such as probiotics).”<br />

This research project is funded by<br />

the Huntington’s Disease Society of<br />

America HD Human Biology Project<br />

Fellowship awarded to Dr Yifat<br />

Glikmann-Johnston.<br />


Read more at: mndaustralia.org.au<br />

Phase 2/3 of the Copper-ATSM<br />

clinical trial will soon commence<br />

at Macquarie University, Sydney<br />

and then at other sites across<br />

Australia.<br />

The first clinical trial of copper-ATSM<br />

as a potential treatment option<br />

for motor neurone disease (MND)<br />

started recruiting in November<br />

2016.<br />

Copper-ATSM therapy was developed<br />

in Australia. Research has shown<br />

copper-ATSM can protect motor<br />

neurones in the spinal cord, improve<br />

MND-like symptoms, and extend<br />

the lifespan of mice with a mutated<br />

form of SOD1. It is more effective in<br />

mutant SOD1 mice than riluzole (the<br />

only approved treatment for MND).<br />

Phase 1 of the study, conducted at<br />

two sites in Australia, identified a<br />

safe dosage of copper-ATSM.<br />

The phase 2/3 trial will commence<br />

initially at Macquarie University<br />

in Sydney and then at other sites<br />

across Australia. Anyone interested<br />

in taking part in the trial will need to<br />

contact their neurologist to discuss<br />

suitability and eligibility.<br />

Phase 1 of the study recruited<br />

participants who have been<br />

diagnosed with sporadic or familial<br />

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.<br />

Research to date has been<br />

conducted on familial MND animal<br />

models. There is no animal model<br />

for sporadic MND. However, in 2015<br />

Peter Crouch and colleagues at The<br />

University of Melbourne and the<br />

Florey Institute found MND-affected<br />

tissues obtained from people who<br />

died because of sporadic MND had<br />

important similarities to mice that<br />

responded to copper-ATSM. This<br />

suggests that copper-ATSM may<br />

have activity in both sporadic and<br />

familial MND.<br />

A possible treatment resulting from<br />

these studies is many years away.<br />

Phase 1 determined a safe dose of<br />

copper-ATSM. Data from this trial<br />

guided researchers in setting up<br />

the next phase of the trial.<br />

The Phase 2 Cu-ATSM clinical trial<br />

will involve 80 participants and<br />

evaluate efficacy (whether the<br />

compound works as intended) and<br />

further evaluate safety. Patients<br />

involved in this phase of the trial will<br />

be randomly assigned Cu-ATSM or a<br />

placebo for 6x28 day cycles.<br />

Motor Neurone Disease Research<br />

Australia has invested more than<br />

$1.2 million to support three<br />

projects that aim to assist<br />

developing copper-ATSM as a<br />

potential therapeutic for MND.<br />



If you would like to opt-out of receiving a paper copy of this publication,<br />

please contact communications@mswa.org.au to sign up to the e-magazine.<br />









In September 2020, when the then-Minister for the NDIS Stuart Robert announced that the<br />

government had accepted many of the Tune Review recommendations, most across the<br />

disability sector were pleased. After all, the Tune Review (an independent review of the NDIS<br />

Act) had made a bunch of sensible recommendations that would help build a Scheme that<br />

would work for everyone.<br />

However, buried deep in the<br />

announcement, was news that<br />

would dominate the conversations<br />

across the sector for months to<br />

come: that the NDIA planned<br />

to introduce Independent<br />

Assessments to all participants. The<br />

Minister announced Independent<br />

Assessments would be introduced<br />

for everyone applying for the NDIS<br />

from February <strong>2021</strong> and then<br />

gradually include every single<br />

participant when they have a plan<br />

review. We were assured that this<br />

wasn’t a cost-cutting measure and<br />

they would be ‘independent’.<br />

The true independence became<br />

clear in February when the NDIA<br />

chose the successful contractors<br />

to complete these Independent<br />

Assessments, just three days after<br />

submissions closed. Concern for the<br />

meaning of ‘independence’ became<br />

greater when the NDIA awarded a<br />

contract to an organisation headed<br />

up by former NDIA CEO Rob De<br />

Luca and several of his executive<br />

team, who left the NDIA just months<br />

before the announcement of the<br />

Independent Assessment concept.<br />

So, what was the response<br />

from the community?<br />

In short, massive.<br />

Participants, providers, the media,<br />

state governments and the wider<br />

community all spoke out in<br />

opposition to this plan. The pushback<br />

on this idea and importantly<br />

the way it was introduced was loud,<br />

impassioned, and effective. Catherine<br />

McAlpine, the CEO of Inclusion<br />

Australia, summed it up when she<br />

stated that “the immediate outcry<br />

occurred because the government<br />

broke its fundamental promise to<br />

people with disability, to engage<br />

as equal partners in decisions.<br />

And, at the same time, decided to<br />

fundamentally change the personcentred<br />

nature of the NDIS.” The NDIS<br />

Joint Standing Committee received<br />

more than 320 submissions on the<br />

issue from a range of individual<br />

advocacy organisations, academics<br />

with the vast majority highly critical<br />

of the proposed assessments.<br />

The people had spoken and<br />

eventually, the government listened.<br />

In early July and in the face of<br />

sustained opposition, the Federal<br />

Government agreed not to make any<br />

legislative changes to the NDIS and<br />

very nicely committed to consulting<br />

on any future amendments.<br />

The Independent Assessments<br />

were off the table. Victory for the<br />

People... for now.<br />

Because while Independent<br />

Assessments are ‘dead’, we know<br />

that this is not the end. Both the<br />

previous and current NDIS Ministers<br />

have continued the narrative<br />

around cost blowouts and the need<br />

to change the NDIS legislation.<br />

The government would have you<br />

believe there are too many people<br />

on the NDIS, plans are over-funded,<br />

and the Scheme is financially<br />

unsustainable. And while there may<br />

be some truth to that, this claim has<br />

not been backed up with sufficient<br />

evidence to sway public opinion.<br />

So, rejoice one and all because<br />

we, the people, have stopped<br />

independent assessors before<br />

they impact thousands. But while<br />

we savour victory, we should<br />

remain vigilant because the<br />

Department of Social Services<br />

website recently announced that,<br />

“Public consultations on draft<br />

amendments to legislation are<br />

expected to occur from late August<br />

ahead of introduction to Parliament<br />

in October <strong>2021</strong>.” The changes are<br />

back and it’s up to everyone to use<br />

our voices and ensure the NDIS<br />

continues to work for all of us.<br />



It is with great sadness we say our final goodbye to former<br />

longstanding Board Director and <strong>Bulletin</strong> Editor Greg<br />

Brotherson. After more than a year of struggling with various<br />

health issues, he passed away on 7 August <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

Greg joined what was then the MS<br />

Society in 1979 after being diagnosed<br />

with MS. From the start he showed<br />

a willingness to put his skills and<br />

abilities to use helping others with<br />

MS. Shortly after, Greg became the<br />

Editor of the magazine, MS <strong>Bulletin</strong>,<br />

which over time evolved from<br />

a typed newsletter into a highly<br />

valued, quality, quarterly colour<br />

magazine. He remained Editor of<br />

<strong>Bulletin</strong> until 2019, only handing the<br />

role on when his health deteriorated<br />

and compromised him. As Editor, he<br />

was passionate and committed to<br />

providing people living with MS the<br />

latest information about multiple<br />

sclerosis in a very accessible and<br />

understandable way. He also used<br />

<strong>Bulletin</strong> to help Members connect<br />

with others, whether with <strong>MSWA</strong><br />

staff who could help them live their<br />

best lives, or with other people living<br />

with the condition who could share<br />

stories and experiences.<br />

Greg started his working life in<br />

the mailroom at Dalgety’s. He and<br />

Myrna, his devoted wife, married<br />

in 1961. He spent some time as a<br />

truck salesman for a while, then<br />

he undertook a flying course,<br />

graduated as a pilot, and went on to<br />

work for various airline businesses<br />

for a number of years. As a result, he<br />

was often known as ‘Biggles’.<br />

Greg was elected to the Board of<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> in 1982 and continued to<br />

be re-elected for many years at the<br />

end of each of his terms of service.<br />

He was so well known to Members<br />

that they never thought twice when<br />

election time came around.<br />

Greg decided to undertake various<br />

studies at Murdoch University,<br />

and was granted his Doctor of<br />

Philosophy (PhD) in 2000. He then<br />

became a tutor in history.<br />

I met Greg on my very first visit to<br />

the Wilson Services Centre after<br />

being diagnosed with MS. His<br />

gentleness, wit and intelligence<br />

were a great comfort to me at what<br />

was a difficult time. He heard that I<br />

was a high school English teacher<br />

and encouraged me to begin<br />

writing articles for <strong>Bulletin</strong>.<br />

His encouragement gave me a new<br />

interest when other areas of my life<br />

were closing down.<br />

Greg has always been an inspiration<br />

to so many others, as he lived his life<br />

with gentleness and fortitude in the<br />

face of the continuing progression<br />

of his MS.<br />

Dr Greg Brotherson served <strong>MSWA</strong><br />

with loyalty, commitment, and great<br />

honour for over forty years. He will<br />

be fondly remembered as a hero of<br />

our organisation.<br />

I would particularly like to mention his<br />

wife Myrna’s constant support for him<br />

over the years. We all wish you well<br />

Myrna as you go through this tough<br />

time. I would also like to express my<br />

deepest condolences to Greg and<br />

Myrna’s sons, Kim and Jason.<br />

Vale Dr Brotherson.<br />

We will miss you.<br />





As we all know, COVID-19 has significantly impacted all of us in one way or another. Thankfully<br />

WA has been less impacted than other states in Australia and indeed so many countries around<br />

the world. Closed borders and lockdowns have been particularly effective for WA and Australia<br />

more broadly but have come at significant cost to the economy and our ability to travel.<br />

The global push to get vaccinated<br />

is ongoing and has indeed ramped<br />

up significantly in the past 3 – 6<br />

months in Australia.<br />

Overwhelmingly there is evidence<br />

COVID vaccinations are safe,<br />

and indeed recommended, for<br />

most people with chronic health<br />

conditions; there are some medical<br />

exemptions that apply for those<br />

taking some specific medications.<br />

As always there is a lot of scary<br />

misinformation and untruths, so<br />

please seek out credible evidencebased<br />

information and advice.<br />

Two injections are required and,<br />

depending on the type of vaccine,<br />

the spacing varies from 4 – 12 weeks<br />

apart.<br />

/ Vaccinations are available through<br />

GPs, pharmacies, and state-run<br />

centres/hubs throughout the<br />

metropolitan and regional areas<br />

/ All Western Australians aged 12<br />

years and over are eligible for<br />

COVID-19 vaccination.<br />

/ All COVID-19 vaccines are free.<br />

/ The Australian Technical Advisory<br />

Group for Immunisations has<br />

recently released new advice<br />

regarding COVID-19 vaccination<br />

booster shots for those deemed<br />

‘severely immunocompromised’<br />

and on specific medications. Ask<br />

your medical team if a third dose<br />

is recommended for you.<br />

Increasingly, vaccination is<br />

becoming mandatory in certain<br />

settings, including residential aged<br />

care, the health system, and various<br />

private businesses like Qantas. Proof<br />

of vaccination will also become<br />

necessary for travel and some local<br />

events in an effort to protect us all<br />

from COVID-19.<br />

Always seek advice from your<br />

GP and / or neurologist, who know<br />

you well.<br />

Go to the Health Department<br />

websites in WA and the Federal site,<br />

as these are updated almost daily<br />

and provide vaccination advice and<br />

information and links for how to<br />

book your vaccination.<br />

healthywa.wa.gov.au<br />

health.gov.au<br />


“There is so much happening around us at present that we can forget to take care<br />

of ourselves. I had forgotten to do my own health checks and had cast aside those<br />

reminder letters from my GP thinking I would do them soon.<br />

I work in general practice and happened to speak to a general practitioner a few<br />

weeks ago who said that there were a lot of patients coming to see her who had put<br />

off their usual checks, and unfortunately the results coming back were not great.<br />

If only they had had them done when they were due, she said.<br />

This really hit me! Yes, life is super busy and we CAN overlook our health and wellbeing. I went home<br />

and booked those belated tests in. All is well – thank goodness – but it is a keen reminder to keep looking<br />

after our health even in these strange times of living within a pandemic.<br />

Please keep up to date with those health checks so that you can continue to be a force in the world!”<br />






Whether you have a chronic illness or not, there are recommendations to regularly monitor your<br />

general health and wellbeing.<br />

The Victorian Government’s Better<br />

Health initiative (betterhealth.<br />

vic.gov.au/healthyliving/healthchecks)<br />

is just one great resource.<br />

Regular health checks can prevent<br />

many diseases and catch others<br />

before it's too late to change their<br />

course. Some health checks and<br />

screening tests can help prevent<br />

serious illness such as cancer.<br />

Regular self-checks are<br />

recommended (eg skin checks,<br />

breast self-examination for women<br />

and testicular checks for men)<br />

along with checks of your eyesight,<br />

teeth, gums, and those ordered or<br />

performed by your GP (eg blood<br />

tests and screening).<br />

Speak to your GP, who will provide<br />

tailored advice about what tests you<br />

may need and how often.<br />

Recommended screening:<br />

/ Regular monitoring of your<br />

blood pressure, weight, and<br />

cholesterol; frequency depends<br />

on your age and risk of heart<br />

disease or stroke.<br />

/ Diabetes screening; depending<br />

on your risk of Diabetes Type<br />

2. The blood tests may require<br />

fasting.<br />

/ Bowel cancer screening; The<br />

National Bowel Cancer Screening<br />

Program provides a home<br />

sample kit and recommends<br />

people aged 50 to 74 years have<br />

a test once every two years.<br />

Up to 90% of bowel cancers<br />

can be successfully treated if<br />

detected early.<br />

/ Bone density test (DEXA) to<br />

determine the health of your<br />

bones; Osteoporosis is a disease<br />

that causes bones to become<br />

brittle. Risk factors include a thin<br />

build, early menopause, aged<br />

over 70 years, and long-term use<br />

of cortisone medication.<br />

Some gender-specific screenings<br />

you might like to think about<br />

include:<br />

For women:<br />

/ Cervical screening test: this is<br />

important and can pick up signs<br />

of irregularities that could lead<br />

to cervical cancer if not treated.<br />

Cervical cancer is one of the most<br />

preventable cancers. Frequency<br />

of tests depend on your age and<br />

any family history.<br />

/ Mammogram: this is recommended<br />

every two years. If you have a family<br />

history it will be more frequent.<br />

For men:<br />

/ Prostate cancer screening:<br />

population-based screening is<br />

not recommended, so discuss<br />

this with your GP. If you’re aged<br />

50-70, a blood test (PSA) may be<br />

deemed appropriate.<br />

/ ECG: a non-invasive and painless<br />

medical test that detects cardiac<br />

(heart) abnormalities by measuring<br />

the electrical activity generated by<br />

the heart as it contracts.<br />

For all:<br />

/ Sexual health: testing for sexually<br />

transmissible infections and<br />

erectile dysfunction or other<br />

sexual problems can be discussed<br />

with your GP.<br />

In addition, monitoring your<br />

mental health and seeking advice<br />

and support is also recommended.<br />

We don’t think twice about getting<br />

our vehicles regularly serviced and<br />

checked when things aren’t right;<br />

self-care is so important and you’re<br />

worth it!<br />




Welcome to the second instalment in our series of articles on pain and pain management.<br />

Below, <strong>MSWA</strong> Counsellor Lisa Papas and Neurological Liaison Nurse Bronwyn Innes, who has a speciality<br />

background in pain management, give an overview of strategies for chronic pain management.<br />

Future editions will explore some of these strategies in greater detail.<br />


In scientific literature there is no definitive cure for most chronic pain conditions. The aim<br />

of treatment is to manage pain so that physical and emotional functioning is restored and<br />

overall quality of life improved.<br />

While medications such as codeine<br />

or other opioids are sometimes<br />

prescribed for chronic pain, research<br />

has shown they are not effective in<br />

the long term.<br />

Non-pharmacological ways to<br />

manage your pain include:<br />

1. Psychological approaches such as:<br />

/ Cognitive Behaviour Therapy<br />

(CBT) or other forms of<br />

psychotherapy through a<br />

qualified therapist can help to<br />

solidify techniques for pain relief.<br />

/ Daily relaxation techniques<br />

- Guided imagery meditations can<br />

help shift attention from pain.<br />

- Use deep breathing techniques<br />

that provide relief, focus and<br />

distraction from pain.<br />

- Music as relaxation: sound and<br />

rhythm have proven benefits for<br />

soothing and distracting when<br />

in pain.<br />

/ Practicing Mindfulness<br />

- Meditation.<br />

- Focused breathing.<br />

- Acceptance as a technique for<br />

coming to terms with pain.<br />

/ Learning desensitisation.<br />

/ Using distraction.<br />

/ Finding support. Seek out<br />

qualified psychological therapists<br />

to work with you through these<br />

various modalities.<br />

2. Physical therapies such as:<br />

/ Daily stretching and walking.<br />

/ Pacing activities throughout the<br />

day.<br />

/ Gentle exercise.<br />

/ Hydrotherapy.<br />

/ TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical<br />

Nerve Stimulator).<br />

/ Superficial heat and cold.<br />

3. Complementary and alternative<br />

therapies such as acupuncture,<br />

massage and other supplements<br />

can also provide relief.<br />

4. Eating a healthy diet and<br />

improving sleep also contribute<br />

to wellbeing and overall quality<br />

of life.<br />

Evidence shows that people who<br />

are actively involved in managing<br />

their chronic pain on a daily basis<br />

have less disability than those who<br />

rely on passive therapies such as<br />

medication or surgery.<br />

Chronic pain is a complex experience<br />

which is influenced by physical,<br />

psychological and social factors. As<br />

such, the best way to manage it is<br />

to address all the factors affecting<br />

your pain. It is important to try to<br />

keep a positive attitude until you<br />

find a plan that works for you.<br />

In our next article, we will expand<br />

on the psychological approaches to<br />

pain management.<br />


<strong>MSWA</strong> COUNSELLOR<br />


<strong>MSWA</strong> NEUROLOGICAL<br />






It was a long, wet winter and many of us are feeling the effects of a lack of sunlight and being<br />

‘stuck inside’. The effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) have been well documented,<br />

where the lack of getting outside and the impact of low vitamin D impacts our mental and<br />

physical health.<br />

I have written before about the<br />

benefits of animals on your mental<br />

and physical health. I am now<br />

inviting you to expand this, to<br />

incorporate the natural world. The<br />

medical profession is beginning<br />

to recognise the benefits of<br />

connecting with nature. Treatment<br />

rooms and waiting rooms are<br />

displaying images of nature on<br />

the walls, incorporating sounds of<br />

nature (such as water and birds)<br />

and going as far as providing<br />

subtle scents of nature, which<br />

has increased positive outcomes<br />

for patients.<br />

Humans have an innate appreciation<br />

of close contact with nature, which<br />

is believed to have derived from<br />

the living conditions under which<br />

humans evolved. In other words, the<br />

need to connect with nature is in<br />

our DNA. The value and importance<br />

of our connection to nature is<br />

nothing new as historically many<br />

cultures have included aspects of<br />

nature and the use of medicinal<br />

plants into their wellbeing and<br />

health practices. However, there is<br />

now clear scientifically researched<br />

evidence for the beneficial effects<br />

of exposure to nature and green<br />

environments and the resulting<br />

feelings of wellbeing this can<br />

produce.<br />

There are many ways to get<br />

outside – gardening is a popular<br />

pastime for many. In fact, scientists<br />

have suggested that a type of<br />

friendly bacteria found in soil may<br />

affect the brain in a similar way<br />

to antidepressants! I would not<br />

suggest eating dirt, however getting<br />

your hands and feet into the soil is a<br />

great way to increase exposure and<br />

activate those chemicals in your<br />

brain that improve your mental<br />

and physical health. Alternatively,<br />

going for a walk or ride in the bush<br />

or park, going to the beach, or even<br />

a picnic outdoors are a few of the<br />

many ways you can connect with<br />

the natural world.<br />

If getting physical outside is beyond<br />

your capabilities maybe try sitting<br />

outside with a book or just sitting<br />

mindfully, while engaging fully<br />

with the sights, sounds, smells, and<br />

textures that surround you.<br />

So, venture forth into the<br />

‘great outdoors’ in whatever<br />

way you can. Your physical<br />

and mental health will thank<br />

you for it.<br />

For those of you who would like<br />

to investigate this subject further<br />

there is a document online called<br />

‘Beyond Blue to Green’ which is<br />

an Australian paper developed<br />

by Beyond Blue and the Deakin<br />

University.<br />


<strong>MSWA</strong> COUNSELLOR<br />





Is your balance a bit ‘off’? Have you had a fall or two? Or are you worried about falling?<br />

Balance is a complicated thing,<br />

according to <strong>MSWA</strong> Senior<br />

Physiotherapist Ben Matthews.<br />

“The brain controls your balance<br />

by receiving sensory information<br />

from your eyes, muscles and<br />

joints, and vestibular system<br />

(structures located within the ears),<br />

interpreting this information, and<br />

then delivering an appropriate<br />

muscular response,” says Ben.<br />

“If this information is disrupted, say<br />

as a result a neurological condition,<br />

you may become more susceptible<br />

to falls.”<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> owns one of a very small<br />

number of Balance Master devices<br />

in Western Australia. Development<br />

of this device was originally funded<br />

by NASA to test the balance of<br />

astronauts after a space flight.<br />

Now located at <strong>MSWA</strong>’s Butler<br />

Services Centre, the Balance Master<br />

is a high-tech system used by the<br />

Physiotherapy team to isolate<br />

a person’s response to different<br />

sensory input scenarios.<br />

The person stands or sits in the<br />

Balance Master cubicle supported<br />

by a harness while various scenarios<br />

are tested. For some of the tests<br />

the subject’s eyes remain open; for<br />

others they are closed. The floor of<br />

the cubicle and visual surround can<br />

be set to be stable or to sway.<br />

“By testing under these variable<br />

conditions and isolating one<br />

sensory input from others, we<br />

can determine which factors are<br />

compromising a subject’s balance,”<br />

says Ben.<br />

“It’s then possible to design a<br />

physical therapy program, informed<br />

by the evidence gained from the<br />

Balance Master assessment, to<br />

address these issues.”<br />

An initial Balance Master test<br />

provides a baseline of results.<br />

Further assessments can be<br />

conducted to determine if the<br />

prescribed therapy is effective.<br />

To find out more about how<br />

Balance Master can improve<br />

your wellbeing and function<br />

call the <strong>MSWA</strong> Physiotherapy<br />

team on 9365 4888.<br />

“This year, I did a full assessment session on the Balance Master at <strong>MSWA</strong><br />

Butler. It took about 45 minutes. I found that the machine was easy to<br />

stand in and the digital display screen was adequate and easy to follow the<br />

prompts. It was very interesting to watch my movements on the screen. The<br />

assessment mode was quite jolty and I had to have an assistant holding me<br />

from behind. But the results of the assessment mean my physio can now<br />

tailor my training to improve my balance and therefore improve my mobility.”<br />



<strong>MSWA</strong> CLIENT<br />



“I’d raced motocross for 11 years, had a state title for BMX, I played off a 4 handicap at golf. I<br />

was very sporty,” recalls Kim Graham. “So to suddenly discover I had this thing called MS was<br />

a kick in the guts.”<br />

Kim lives in the small wheatbelt<br />

town of Kondinin and has been<br />

living with multiple sclerosis since<br />

2001. He was initially diagnosed<br />

when pins and needles started to<br />

spread through his legs. These days,<br />

he’s lost use of his legs completely<br />

and relies on a wheelchair to get<br />

around. Kim is keen to point out<br />

that – being a devoted Fremantle<br />

Dockers fan – his wheelchair<br />

is purple.<br />

A country boy through-andthrough,<br />

Kim spent most of his days<br />

working on farms. He now lives in<br />

the local retirement village, with a<br />

care worker who comes in to help<br />

him to dress, shower and do chores.<br />

“I’m 6ft 4in, so when your legs don’t<br />

work they just get in the way.”<br />

“I’ve always been in the bush,”<br />

explains Kim. “When I was a young<br />

bloke, I came to Perth for four<br />

months to work at Cottesloe Golf<br />

Course. I realised I hated the city –<br />

I’d blow my paycheck before the<br />

weekend was over. There were too<br />

many women and too many pubs!”<br />

Now in his fifties, Kim’s trademark<br />

good humour and charisma are still<br />

going strong. He is a popular and<br />

regular visitor to <strong>MSWA</strong>’s Margaret<br />

Doody Respite House in City Beach.<br />

“I like talking to the other residents.<br />

The first time I came here I was<br />

booked for three weeks, but they<br />

kept me here for six because I’m<br />

good value!<br />

“And the people here are really nice<br />

and helpful. The chefs are great –<br />

Annette cooks the most amazing<br />

food! When I’m at home, food isn’t<br />

much of a priority for me.”<br />

On his last visit to Margaret Doody<br />

House, <strong>MSWA</strong> staff arranged for<br />

him to try the ParaGolfer chair at<br />

Wembley Golf Course. Kim explains<br />

how it felt to swing a golf stick for<br />

the first time in 20 years. “It felt<br />

wicked,” he says with a grin. “I had<br />

tears in my eyes.<br />

“I’ve still got my old golf sticks in the<br />

living room. I clean them regularly,<br />

and I’ll look at them and say ‘one<br />

day I’ll get to swing you again’.”<br />

However, Kim is realistic about the<br />

future. “The MS is getting worse.<br />

It’s harder and harder to live by<br />

myself. I find it harder every day to<br />

do things. It’s gonna happen,” he<br />

says, speaking about the possibility<br />

of supported accommodation.<br />

Kim’s sister Nicole lives on a farm<br />

near Bluff Knoll, so when she heard<br />

that <strong>MSWA</strong> was building a new<br />

$7m residential facility in Albany<br />

for people living with neurological<br />

conditions, she began making<br />

enquiries about getting Kim on<br />

the waitlist for one of the 10 highsupport<br />

accommodation units that<br />

will be available in 2022.<br />

Pending NDIS approval, Kim could<br />

soon move into his own unit, with<br />

access to onsite 24/7 support, as well<br />

being next door to <strong>MSWA</strong>’s newest<br />

state-of-the-art Services Centre.<br />

The thought of such easy access to<br />

physiotherapy, the Outreach group,<br />

nursing and occupational therapy<br />

is comforting to Kim. “You don’t<br />

get nothing like that in the bush,”<br />

he explains. “There’s no one in<br />

Kondinin who can do physiotherapy<br />

for my condition. And at the<br />

Kondinin Hospital, all the handrails<br />

are too low because they don’t get<br />

many 6ft 4in blokes in wheelchairs<br />

coming in!”<br />

The milder Albany summers<br />

and being closer to his sister<br />

and her family are also a<br />

draw for him.<br />

Whilst Kim is saddened by the<br />

thought of leaving his closeknit<br />

community, he is grateful<br />

that a move to high-support<br />

accommodation in Albany might<br />

be possible. He winks as he says,<br />

“Tell ‘em to paint one room purple<br />

and I’ll have that one!”<br />





Ever since the introduction to the NDIS, the term ‘assistive technology’ has become more<br />

widely known. The World Health Organisation describes assistive technology as an<br />

umbrella term covering the systems and services related to the delivery of assistive products<br />

and services. On the other hand, assistive products maintain or improve an individual’s<br />

functioning and independence, thereby promoting their wellbeing.<br />

The aim of the assistive technology<br />

and its products is to help people<br />

with disabilities bridge the gap<br />

between their disability and the<br />

ability to be able to pursue their<br />

goals. There are many types of<br />

assistive technology and it can be<br />

daunting to know which would suit<br />

your needs. It is therefore important<br />

to involve a health professional who<br />

understands the disability, your<br />

environment, and the goals that<br />

you would like to achieve. It is also<br />

important to note that the device is<br />

not meant to be an end in itself but<br />

rather a tool as part of an ongoing<br />

process to achieve your goals.<br />



This may be surprising but the<br />

majority of the population can<br />

and is benefiting from assistive<br />

technology (AT) in different areas of<br />

life. It not only benefits the users of<br />

AT but also the people around them<br />

such as carers, teachers, employers<br />

and other people in the community.<br />

For example, a ramp from the<br />

parking area into the shopping<br />

centre will not only benefit<br />

wheelchair users but also the<br />

general population such as mums<br />

with prams. Or software that<br />

enlarges print on phones and<br />

computers will not only benefit<br />

people with a vision impairment,<br />

but will also benefit those who are<br />

ageing.<br />

Appropriate and relevant access<br />

to these devices and the adoption<br />

and application of AT can provide<br />

individuals with opportunities to<br />

participate in community life which<br />

will in turn benefit the rest of the<br />

community.<br />



Assistive technology can range in types and categories and can be disability-specific or mainstream. In recent years,<br />

there has also been more of a shift into making mainstream products such as tablets and computers more accessible<br />

to enable access for a person with a disability.<br />

The following are some categories and examples of assistive devices. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list<br />

and development in assistive devices are constantly improving:<br />

Category<br />

Mobility aids<br />

Transfer equipment<br />

Seating and positioning<br />

Temperature control<br />

Computer technology<br />

Physical modifications<br />

Adaptive devices for<br />

daily living<br />

Recreation<br />

Communication<br />

Examples<br />

Wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, canes, crutches, prosthetic devices, orthotic devices,<br />

guide dogs or assistance animals<br />

Hoists, transfer benches, vehicle transfer aids<br />

Recliners, adapted seating, cushions<br />

Air conditioners, cooling devices such as pillow and mattress protectors, cooling vests<br />

Computer software and hardware such as screen readers, screen enlargement apps<br />

and software, in-built accessibility programs in mainstream devices<br />

Modification for the built environment of the home or workplace including<br />

installation of grab rails, ramps, increasing doorways, circulation spaces. This can<br />

also include modifications of vehicles to enable safe transfers or driving techniques.<br />

Adaptive switches and utensils, specialised handles and grips, dressing aids,<br />

personal alarms, adapted personal hygiene aids<br />

Devices that enable participation in recreational and sporting activities include<br />

adaptive controls for video games, cuffs for grasping paddles or racquets etc.<br />

Devices that enable communication for people with speech and/or hearing difficulties.<br />

Examples include communication boards, text to voice software and specialised apps.<br />


Matching the person to the right AT for the right<br />

task can be a complex process that involves careful<br />

consideration of the person and their family members,<br />

the environment, the technology and the task involved.<br />

It involves technical knowledge of equipment and its<br />

interactions with the person and environment and a<br />

consultation process with the individual to come up with<br />

a product that would fit best to the individual’s needs.<br />

Before getting any equipment, it might be useful to<br />

consider these questions:<br />

/ What is my goal task to complete?<br />

/ What barriers are there that prevent me from<br />

achieving this goal?<br />

/ Who can assist me with selecting the right AT?<br />

/ Where can I find what AT is available?<br />

/ How will I determine which brand and features are<br />

the best for my needs?<br />

/ How will the AT be paid for?<br />

/ Can I trial the equipment?<br />

/ What kind of training do I need to use the AT?<br />

/ Who should I contact if I have follow up questions or if<br />

the equipment breaks down?<br />


The <strong>MSWA</strong> Allied Health team comprises Occupational<br />

Therapists, Physiotherapists, Speech Pathologists and<br />

Nurses who can assist with assessing your needs and<br />

goals and sourcing the right fit for you in terms of your<br />

assistive technology needs.<br />

Your Support Coordinator or <strong>MSWA</strong> Client Liaison<br />

Coordinator can also assist with the funding from your<br />

NDIS plan if appropriate.<br />

You can also find out more information from Disability<br />

Gateway – a government portal for people with<br />

disabilities to source and connect with information and<br />

services that is relevant to their needs. It has a specific<br />

Assistive Technology page that can link you to more<br />

information and services depending on your needs and<br />

criteria: disabilitygateway.gov.au/aids-equipment<br />




Farewell<br />

Marcus!<br />

In October, we said farewell to our CEO Marcus Stafford<br />

after nearly two decades of service to <strong>MSWA</strong>.<br />

Marcus, from all of us at <strong>MSWA</strong>, thank you.<br />






<strong>MSWA</strong> Client Dymathy<br />

Hollands and family.<br />

Boots, Bubbles and BBQs, what do they have in common you might ask? <strong>MSWA</strong> Community<br />

Fundraisers, they come from all sorts of avenues!<br />



Boots were donned, as the<br />

Cockburn Lakes Football Club<br />

took to the field for their Round 15<br />

Blockbuster against Nollamara on<br />

Saturday, 24 July.<br />

With the cause close to the heart<br />

of the team, they were joined by<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> Client Dymathy Hollands,<br />

who was diagnosed with MS 15 years<br />

ago, and her family who helped to<br />

spur the team on to victory.<br />

With a triumphant win by the<br />

team on the day, funds from the<br />

sale of match day jerseys, raffles<br />

and auction, and donations from<br />

supporters of Glen Hollands from<br />

Red Sands Suppliers, the fundraiser<br />

raised a phenomenal $15,000!<br />

Club President, Colin van Raalte<br />

said, "The Cockburn Football Club<br />

holds an annual charity game for<br />

community groups, and with <strong>MSWA</strong><br />

close to our hearts it was certainly<br />

one of the biggest fundraisers we<br />

have held. We hope that the money<br />

raised can help <strong>MSWA</strong> provide<br />

much needed support and we at<br />

the CLFC wish <strong>MSWA</strong> the very best<br />

in the future."<br />


Bubbles were flowing on Saturday,<br />

2 October as Shenae Wilson and<br />

the team at Shenae Wilson Hair in<br />

Ocean Reef were blow-drying up a<br />

storm in the name of raising funds<br />

for <strong>MSWA</strong>.<br />

Clients were treated to a grazing<br />

board, cupcakes, raffle and other<br />

treats, oh and don’t forget a glass<br />

of bubbly or two as they were<br />

pampered by the team.<br />

Shenae has a close friend with<br />

MS and wanted to help make a<br />

difference. She and her team raised<br />

over $1,100 from the day!<br />


<strong>MSWA</strong> Client Rhys Coffey was<br />

diagnosed with Secondary<br />

Relapsing Progressive MS in<br />

November 2019, after many<br />

investigations into the symptoms<br />

he was experiencing.<br />

A 10-year FIFO veteran from the<br />

Pilbara, Rhys put his symptoms<br />

down to the changing conditions<br />

from life in Perth and in the Pilbara,<br />

then he went from the fly-in fly-out<br />

lifestyle to being a stay-at-home<br />

dad overnight. After diagnosis, Rhys<br />

found his life changed in so many<br />

ways, physically and mentally.<br />


On Sunday, 3 October, Wells Park<br />

in Rockingham was abuzz as over<br />

50 family and friends of Rhys’ came<br />

together for a barbecue he had<br />

organised to raise funds for <strong>MSWA</strong>,<br />

as his way of giving back to those<br />

who have helped him.<br />

Guests were treated to a delicious<br />

feast, with a sausage sizzle, pulled<br />

beef and coleslaw rolls. Combined<br />

with a raffle, an amazing amount of<br />

$1,200 was raised.<br />

Rhys is looking forward to<br />

continuing to raise awareness for<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> and the various conditions it<br />

supports. He hopes that his cooking<br />

can help get the message out there!<br />

Cooking has always been<br />

something that Rhys has enjoyed<br />

but it has now become a passion.<br />

“If you’re not cooking, no one is<br />

looking,” he explains, something<br />

that has become his slogan.<br />

Rhys has support from PGC<br />

Resources, Cavanagh Constructions,<br />

Mike McKenzie Mortgage Brokers,<br />

RibRack BBQ, Layll Building<br />

Solutions and other barbecue<br />

enthusiasts who are following him<br />

on Instagram.<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> Client Rhys Coffey.<br />

“My favourite barbecue/Weber<br />

recipe is pulled lamb, which is really<br />

easy. I rub the lamb with RibRack<br />

sheep rub and put in the Weber on<br />

indirect heat at 2250F for four hours<br />

or until the internal temp reaches<br />

1650F, then I wrap in foil for another<br />

four hours or until the temp reaches<br />

2030F. Then I let it rest in an Esky for<br />

up to one hour and then – enjoy!”<br />





“Blooming Disordered Exchange is a response to my own<br />

understanding and response to my diagnosis of multiple<br />

sclerosis. Through this piece I aim to create awareness of the<br />

chronic illness to an audience who wouldn’t necessarily have<br />

a connection to the degenerative autoimmune disease.<br />

As MS does not discriminate between male and female,<br />

this genderless clay bust provides the platform for intricately<br />

woven neurons formed from junk mail roses, salvaged cables<br />

and beads. Just as myelin sheath damage exposes nerves in<br />

those with MS and interferes with the exchange of messages<br />

between the brain and spinal cord, several cables in the<br />

sculpture have exposed copper wire due to damaged plastic<br />

insulation coating.”<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> CLIENT, RACHAEL LEMON<br />






Over the past few months, I have<br />

been working closely with our<br />

volunteers to provide them with<br />

information regarding the NDIS<br />

and its mandatory requirements for<br />

anyone working closely with NDIS<br />

Clients. Many of our volunteers have<br />

been with us for over five years<br />

and although their roles have not<br />

changed, these new requirements<br />

have resulted in additional training<br />

and security checks.<br />

All staff and volunteers working<br />

with Clients must now complete the<br />

mandatory NDIS Worker Screening<br />

Check and the NDIS Worker<br />

Orientation Module. The online<br />

Module, which takes about 90<br />

minutes to complete, ensures that<br />

we all have a sound understanding<br />

of the NDIS principles and the rights<br />

of the Clients we work with.<br />

The NDIS Worker Screening Check<br />

replaces the police clearance that<br />

has previously been required.<br />

Identification documents are<br />

verified at the Department of<br />

Transport for document verification<br />

before the NDIS can begin its<br />

screening process, and it is then<br />

valid for five years.<br />

Existing volunteers need to apply<br />

for their NDIS Screening Check, but<br />

have a bit more time, depending on<br />

the currency of their police clearance.<br />

To help with the process, we are<br />

providing access to a computer<br />

or laptop to allow our volunteers<br />

to start their NDIS Screening<br />

application and work through the<br />

NDIS Online Orientation Module,<br />

should they need it.<br />

So, if you have not done this yet, or<br />

if you have problems logging on,<br />

please speak with your supervisor<br />

or you can call me direct.<br />

Is the effort worth it? Yes. Our<br />

volunteers are an important asset<br />

to the <strong>MSWA</strong> community. They<br />

complement the work of our staff,<br />

supporting them where there is<br />

a need. And, after meeting with<br />

several of our volunteers, I can also<br />

see what volunteering really means<br />

to them; it creates a great sense of<br />

community and an opportunity to<br />

give back.<br />

To build on our existing volunteer<br />

program, a survey was sent out to<br />

all Client Services and Residential<br />

Options-based volunteers to help<br />

us determine how they feel about<br />

their roles, training, and the level of<br />

support they receive from us. The<br />

results are being analysed as we<br />

speak, and we hope to share them<br />

with you in time.<br />

I am also pleased to say that the<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> Volunteers brochure has<br />

been refreshed and will soon be<br />

distributed across WA volunteer<br />

centres. We have a number of<br />

positions to fill, and this brochure<br />

will help to extend our reach to a<br />

wider audience.<br />

CAMPS<br />

We have, once again, applied to<br />

Lotterywest for support with our<br />

camp program. However, due to<br />

them redirecting their funding<br />

during the peak of the COVID-19<br />

pandemic and the restrictions we all<br />

faced during and after lockdowns,<br />

our program has been impacted<br />

temporarily.<br />

Fingers crossed, camps will return<br />

in 2022. Tentative bookings have<br />

been made for the Carers Camps<br />

at a quiet retreat in Safety Bay in<br />

March. I am sure by then there will<br />

be much joy to be able to get away<br />

again. Dates will be posted at our<br />

Outreach Centres, and in <strong>Bulletin</strong>,<br />

and previous attendees will be<br />

contacted with more information.<br />

More good news. <strong>MSWA</strong> Readathon<br />

funding has been made available<br />

for the Family Camp in October this<br />

year. I look forward to my first-ever<br />

camp, meeting the families and<br />

giving their children a fun-filled<br />

experience, flying fox and all!<br />

For more information on volunteering<br />

and camps, call me, Mala<br />

Padmanathan on 6454 3184 or email<br />

mala.padmanathan@mswa.org.au<br />








Have you witnessed a game of ‘Chair Ping’ taking place in an Outreach Centre near you?<br />

The modified equipment is the invention of <strong>MSWA</strong> Client Bob Masek and his wife Maria.<br />

We asked Bob all about this adapted form of table tennis.<br />

How did the idea for Chair Ping<br />

come about?<br />

My home visiting physiotherapist<br />

James Beckett brought with him<br />

a badminton set. The idea of how<br />

to practice eye-hand coordination<br />

was good, but the unpredictable<br />

wind in the backyard toyed with<br />

the badminton ball like a cat with a<br />

mouse. James suggested that ping<br />

pong might be a better idea.<br />

I bought a ping pong table, but<br />

it turned out that the table was<br />

much too big. A player sitting on a<br />

wheelchair in one spot is unable to<br />

return a ball that is placed out of his<br />

bat reach.<br />

I had parallel bars stored in the<br />

shed, and a melamine board laying<br />

on the floor in the corner – it was<br />

the perfect dimension, measuring<br />

1200x2400mm. It was love at first<br />

sight. I married the bars with the<br />

melamine board and CHAIR PING<br />

was born.<br />

I solved the table tennis disadvantage<br />

by shortening and narrowing the<br />

Chair Ping table by 34.00cm and<br />

32.50cm respectively.<br />

For a better measure, I also extended<br />

the length of the standard butterfly<br />

bat by 16cm.<br />

Scotty my social worker lent his<br />

woodworking knowledge, and my<br />

wife of 46 years and full-time carer<br />

Maria made three chair ping tables<br />

from scratch to finish by herself.<br />

They are now installed in three<br />

different <strong>MSWA</strong> Outreach Centres.<br />

Can you explain the rules in a<br />

nutshell?<br />

The rules of Chair Ping are exactly<br />

the same as for table tennis. The<br />

only difference is that the player<br />

does not move around the table, but<br />

plays while sitting on a wheelchair<br />

or chair.<br />

Getting up from the chair during<br />

the game in an attempt to return<br />

the ball to the opponent is penalised<br />

by losing one point.<br />

Is there anything else you’d like to<br />

tell us?<br />

The game of Chair Ping is a secret<br />

weapon that has the miraculous<br />

ability to cultivate honesty, respect,<br />

a sense of fair play, and create in<br />

the body ‘happy hormones’ such<br />

as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin<br />

and endorphins.<br />

Many thanks for your<br />

questions and especially your<br />

interest in Chair Ping and<br />

spreading the word about it.<br />





Residents and staff at our Margaret Doody Respite House have been delighting in a beautiful<br />

new painting, which was recently donated by <strong>MSWA</strong> Client and regular respite resident,<br />

Kim Graham.<br />

Kim hails from Kondinin and says<br />

he used to play footy with Ashley<br />

Collard (aka Ab Collard, NAIDOC<br />

Indigenous artist of the year 2013).<br />

Kim explains, “I asked Ashley to<br />

paint something for <strong>MSWA</strong>. Then<br />

I bought it off him and donated it.<br />

The words in the outer circle are the<br />

Aboriginal seasons.”<br />

Kim says it was a means of showing<br />

his appreciation to the team at<br />

Margaret Doody House.<br />

It’s not the first time Kim has given<br />

back to <strong>MSWA</strong>. “Years ago, I raised<br />

money for <strong>MSWA</strong> by seeing how<br />

far my gopher would go on one<br />

charge. I charged people $5 a guess.<br />

Personally, I guessed it would last<br />

around 11 kilometres.<br />

“I left Kondinin at 7.30am, travelled<br />

25km to Kulin, 25km back to<br />

Kondinin, and then circled around<br />

Kondinin 11 times! The battery finally<br />

ran out at 50.9km. We couldn’t<br />

believe it, no one had guessed<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> Dreaming, Ab and Kelly Collard, <strong>2021</strong>, acrylic on canvas<br />

anywhere near it! Fortunately, it artwork, “To me, it is an appreciation<br />

conked out right outside the pub, of the quality service we endeavour<br />

so everyone went in to the hotel, to provide to each of our Clients.<br />

where they put on free food and In particular, I like the concept<br />

alcohol. I remember we raised and title of the artwork being<br />

$6,000 for <strong>MSWA</strong>.”<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> Dreaming.”<br />

Manager of Margaret Doody House,<br />

<strong>MSWA</strong> would like to thank<br />

Alimul Tasin, says of their new<br />

Kim for his years of support.<br />


The Occupational Therapy team is excited to be recommencing our group sessions following a hiatus<br />

since the beginning of the pandemic. We are currently taking expressions of interest for anyone who is<br />

interested in attending the following group sessions:<br />

/ ‘Occupational Therapy and You’<br />

/ Assistive technology solutions<br />

/ Fatigue management<br />

/ Cognition strategies<br />

If you would like more information with regard to the groups, please email your interest to<br />

ot.referrals@mswa.org.au OR contact us on 9365 4854.<br />




“Medicine adds days to life, occupational therapy adds life to days” - Madeleine Horton,<br />

National OT Morning Team, OT Week 2019<br />

Monday, 25 October marked<br />

Occupational Therapy (OT)<br />

Week where we came together<br />

to celebrate the profession of<br />

Occupational Therapy and promote<br />

the many ways OTs help all people<br />

of all abilities to reach their potential.<br />

This year’s theme was participation,<br />

inclusion and independence,<br />

putting a spotlight on the role that<br />

OTs play in supporting people to do<br />

activities that they find meaningful.<br />

Occupational Therapists at <strong>MSWA</strong><br />

are passionate about helping<br />

our Clients reach their potential<br />

through their participation within<br />

the community. Whether it is<br />

getting out of bed, continuing your<br />

hobby or interests, or just going<br />

to the shops or to the beach – we<br />

are always journeying with you<br />

to empower you to reach your<br />

goals and full potential. We do this<br />

through assessments, navigation<br />

of funding, provision of equipment,<br />

and assistive technology and<br />

education around strategies and<br />

skill development. It is our hope that<br />

through our work with you, we can<br />

continue to promote independence<br />

in your life and increase your<br />

meaningful participation within the<br />

community.<br />

Ros Harman’s article in the last<br />

<strong>Bulletin</strong> about imagining a world<br />

that was designed for people with<br />

disability resonated with those of us<br />

in the OT team. OTs are privileged<br />

to be able to work with Clients to<br />

advocate for change within the<br />

community and to continually<br />

promote participation, inclusion<br />

and independence within our<br />

communities.<br />

While we continually work<br />

towards that goal as a community,<br />

there are several initiatives and<br />

organisations which seek to bridge<br />

the gap between disability and the<br />

community to enable higher levels<br />

of access into community life. These<br />

are some of them:<br />


The Companion Card is a national<br />

scheme that enables eligible people<br />

with lifelong disability to participate<br />

at venues and activities without<br />

incurring the cost of a second ticket<br />

for their companion for participating<br />

affiliate organisations. These can<br />

include concerts, sporting events,<br />

movies, and performing arts. Learn<br />

more about the Companion Card at<br />

wacompanioncard.org.au<br />


‘Changing Places, Transforming<br />

Lives’ is the theme of this<br />

organisation. They aim to provide<br />

suitable facilities for people who<br />

cannot use standard accessible<br />

toilets and go above and beyond<br />

to provide toilets that have ceiling<br />

hoists, additional circulation space,<br />

privacy screens and adult sized<br />

change tables to meet the needs<br />

of people with complex disabilities<br />

and their carers. To access these<br />

toilets and for their locations,<br />

an MLAK key can be applied for<br />

through changingplaces.org.au.<br />


Disability Gateway is a new<br />

government initiative which is<br />

designed to help people with<br />

disability, their families and carers<br />

find information and connect<br />

them to services and supports<br />

that they need in Australia. It has<br />

a website, disabilitygateway.gov.au,<br />

a phone line (1800 643 787) and<br />

a Facebook page and covers all<br />

areas of life including: Income and<br />

Finance, Employment, Aids and<br />

Equipment, Housing, Transport,<br />

Health and Wellbeing, Everyday<br />

Living, Education, Leisure, and<br />

Legal Rights.<br />


<strong>MSWA</strong> OCCUPATIONAL<br />





After having featured both Beechboro and Wilson Outreaches in <strong>Bulletin</strong> this year, this edition<br />

will tell you all about Rockingham Outreach, formerly known as ‘Southside’.<br />

The longevity of the group goes<br />

back well over 20 years. The group<br />

began meeting at Lotteries House<br />

in Rockingham and was staffed<br />

by volunteers. It was an extremely<br />

active group of men and women<br />

driven by the late Barry Wakelam<br />

and his wife Jan. Both Jan and Barry<br />

were part of Southside into their<br />

eighties and it was a huge part of<br />

their lives.<br />

Southside’s home after Lotteries<br />

House was Seabrooke Avenue in<br />

Rockingham. In 2010, I became a<br />

part of this group and have many<br />

happy memories of the following<br />

four years at Seabrooke Avenue.<br />

One of the most treasured days was<br />

when a young <strong>MSWA</strong> Ambassador,<br />

Josh Kennedy, came to visit. There<br />

was a sea of blue and yellow<br />

throughout the house and the hype<br />

was incredible at having a West<br />

Coast Eagles player in our midst!<br />

To this day, the group has some<br />

very staunch Eagles supporters in<br />

attendance. By 2014, another venue<br />

was sourced, as the Friday group<br />

had grown so much that it was no<br />

longer practical.<br />

The new premises became – and<br />

remain at – 31 Council Avenue in<br />

Rockingham. The days of opening<br />

have expanded and currently we run<br />

three Outreach groups per week.<br />

Clients can access physiotherapy<br />

and other allied health services<br />

whilst also attending Outreach.<br />

On a Tuesday, ten very busy ladies<br />

attend. They love doing craft, with<br />

many of their clever creations<br />

decorating the Outreach room.<br />

The ladies really enjoy the social<br />

interaction with their peers and<br />

often say this is what keeps them<br />

so positive. This group particularly<br />

enjoys going to Respite at <strong>MSWA</strong><br />

Treendale Gardens together and<br />

they have become a force to be<br />

reckoned with!<br />

The beginning of this year saw a<br />

men’s Outreach group start on a<br />

Wednesday, which has become<br />

very popular. All attendees are as<br />

enthusiastic as each other and are<br />

able to share their experiences,<br />

which often isn’t easy for them.<br />

They have become a very close-knit<br />

group.<br />

Friday remains the busiest day of<br />

the week at Rockingham Outreach.<br />

Many Clients still attend who were<br />

there in the early days at Seabrooke<br />

Avenue. Ron Farnham, one of<br />

the ‘founding members’, will this<br />

month be celebrating his 80th<br />

birthday. Any excuse for a party as<br />

the saying goes and I have it on<br />

good authority that Ron’s birthday<br />

will be no exception.<br />

Peta McCormack is the Rockingham<br />

Outreach Coordinator, with support<br />

from Care Support Workers Lynne<br />

Fitzgerald, Carmen Archibald and<br />

Lisa Rudyk. Rosemary Hall is the<br />

Kitchen Supervisor and together<br />

the team provide Clients with<br />

activities each day, as well as a<br />

delicious two course lunch. Monthly<br />

programs are set up and the aim<br />

of Outreach is for Clients to feel at<br />

home and have a happy and fun<br />

environment to gather with one<br />

another. This is very evident when I<br />

visit Rockingham and is a credit to<br />

the staff above.<br />

As always, Outreach staff are<br />

extremely thankful for the many<br />

volunteers who spend their time<br />

helping with activities, particularly<br />

in the kitchen. Thank you to Bryan,<br />

Faye and Jill who are an intricate<br />

part of the team on their respective<br />

days.<br />

If you are reading this and would like<br />

to find out more information about<br />

how you could become part of an<br />

Outreach group at Rockingham<br />

I can be reached on 9365 4830 or<br />

0409 167 380. Alternatively, email<br />

nicola.ryan@mswa.org.au<br />




We could have rowed to North America in the time it’s taken for the new rowing<br />

machine to arrive at <strong>MSWA</strong> Wilson! When our old rower broke in January, we ordered a<br />

replacement, but due to the surge in people purchasing home exercising equipment<br />

during lockdown, it was on backorder for months and only arrived in October.<br />

It’s great to see Clients back on the machine.<br />

A heartfelt thank you to <strong>MSWA</strong> Client Frank Montgomery, who generously donated<br />

$1,000 towards the new rower, pictured here putting it through its paces!<br />



Outreach Centre Last date for attendance Re-opening<br />

Albany 17 December <strong>2021</strong> 14 January 2022<br />

Beechboro 17 December <strong>2021</strong> 10 January 2022<br />

Bunbury 15 December <strong>2021</strong> 12 January 2022<br />

Rockingham 17 December <strong>2021</strong> 11 January 2022<br />

Wilson 16 December <strong>2021</strong> 10 January 2022<br />

Margaret Doody Respite House will be closed for refurbishment from<br />

Wednesday 22 December <strong>2021</strong> to Tuesday 1 February 2022.<br />





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