Services

378,000+

Hours of community support delivered

650+

Information enquiries

320+

Counselling sessions

80+

New in-home NDIS customers

20+

Peer support group sessions

240+

Hours of NDIS counselling and positive behavioral support

3

Health and wellbeing group programs

70+

Support coordination customers

Independence Australia provides ongoing specialist supports to more than 740 Victorians living with a complex or significant disability or other personal need.

These services include one-on-one supports in the home and community, psychology and counselling, therapy assistance, support coordination, individual skills development and training and 24/7 shared supported accommodation. We work in partnership with a variety of agencies including the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), Transport Accident Commission (TAC), Commonwealth Department of Health and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to deliver a range of services, while others are independently funded or supported by our social enterprise. 

This year saw the introduction of three new service offerings; Peer Mentoring, Independent Living Options and Host Family Payment Administration.

The new Peer Mentoring service was launched to support the needs of young people living with a disability. The program provides a range of capacity building supports for this group, supporting them to make more choices around decisions that affect them, particularly those finishing high school and transitioning to young adulthood. In its first year, the program has helped participants significantly develop their confidence and decision making capability. The voices of these participants are now clearly heard in their new NDIS plans.

After several months of planning, the Independent Living Options service was launched, providing independent living support for people with very high support needs living in the community. This program was developed in response to a lack of measurable outcomes being delivered from existing services provided to this participant type.

29

NDIS Behavioral Support Customers

8

Grief and Loss workshops

3

Peer Mentoring Service

This year, Independence Australia were selected by the NDIA to provide the Host Family Payment Administration service, managing payments on behalf of foster families.  Independence Australia were selected as one of only four disability service providers in Victoria with the capability to administer the service, and currently support 30% of all NDIS participants funded for the Host Family Administration service throughout the state.

As the NDIS has continued to roll out, more people who acquire a significant physical disability are navigating the scheme for the first time. This has been particularly challenging for people who have acquired a significant disability like spinal cord injury (SCI) and require substantial equipment, house modifications and personal care support to transition from hospital to home. Independence Australia have supported people with SCI and complex care needs to successfully transition back into the community for more than 60 years. In recognition of our specialist knowledge and approach, the Support Coordination team were engaged to contribute to the delivery of the Summer Foundation’s ‘Leaving Hospital Well’ project. In partnership with the Summer Foundation, and with the support of the Austin Hospital and Alfred Hospital, Independence Australia developed and delivered the Upskill for NDIS Support Coordinators sessions and training resources to support a collaborative discharge approach between health and NDIS funded supports. The project aims to help meet the Government’s 2025 goal of a 50% reduction in the number of people under the age of 65 being admitted to aged care.

A new Grief & Loss program for people with a disability was developed in collaboration with the DHHS, in response to the lack of appropriate services for people living in shared supported accommodation facilities when a resident passes away. Initially run in eight DHHS supported accommodation houses, the program has since been expanded to additional DHHS houses as well as facilities operated by other providers.

Independence Australia continues to facilitate two free monthly peer support groups – the Incomplete SCI Group, focused on people who have an incomplete spinal cord injury and the family support group, focused on supporting family members of people affected by SCI. Thanks to the support of the Robert Rose Foundation and Collingwood Football Club, the Incomplete Support Group has over 60 active members and is attended by participants each month.

Our pain management workshops continued to be the most in demand of our health and wellbeing groups with many clients also attending individual counselling to manage unrelenting chronic pain and resultant anxiety and associated low mood. 

Inform

Our disability magazine, Inform, transformed into a multi-channeled information program, connecting Australians living with a disability and their families to vital services and supports within their communities. The expansion of Inform, borne from a successful NDIS grant application, saw the launch of a new online information hub and podcast series. In its first year as a national platform, Inform reached over 10,000 people with a disability and their families nationally through the delivery of three magazines to more than 4,000 national subscribers, six podcasts to over 400 listeners and a new website accessed by 9,000 users.

Spinchat

Our TAC sponsored SpinChat program continued to raise awareness, promote prevention and educate secondary school students about spinal cord injury. The program, presented by 10 young people with spinal cord injuries reached more than 10,000 students state-wide. We were pleased to secure a further three year contract for the delivery of the program with the Transport Accident Commission, allowing us to extend the positive impact of this program to reach even more students.

Case Study

20 year old Christy accessed Independence Australia’s Peer Mentoring service to help achieve her goal of trying new activities, learning new skills and making friends in a safe and supportive environment.

Christy, accompanied by her trained service dog Jayda, wanted to interact with others in social situations that build upon her current Social Skills and Confidence within the community.

Through participation in the Peer Mentoring sessions, Christy has made great progress in achieving this goal. She has become a lot more open, building upon her Social Skills and Confidence to an extent where she feels comfortable engaging in conversation with shopping attendants, restaurant wait staff and others.

Christy, who previously would insist someone else purchase her tickets for her when visiting the cinema, has become confident enough to navigate this process on her own.

Social Enterprise

650,000+

Orders distributed nationally

2,000+

Phone calls per day

400,000+

Visits to corporate website

Independence Australia supplies more than 10,000 continence, wound care, skin care, nutritional and other healthcare products, mobility aids and equipment across Australia. We distribute an average of 2,500 orders a day from our six distribution centers across the nation. As a social enterprise, part of the proceeds made from the sale of healthcare products, mobility aids and equipment goes back into the community, supporting our core charitable purpose, enabling people living with a disability or other personal need to regain and retain their independence within a supportive community.

 

Our commitment to providing free education and professional development opportunities for healthcare professionals throughout Australia continued this year. With the growing success of our flagship Education Day event in Melbourne, we delivered eight events to over 800 health care professionals across Australia, taking the event to Adelaide, Newcastle and Perth for the first time.

On 1st July 2018, Independence Australia commenced delivery of the National Epidermolysis Bullosa Dressing Scheme (NEBDS). The scheme supports people with Epidermolysis Bullosa who are most in need by improving access to appropriate dressings and bandages, and is supported by an information hub to assist participants to manage funding. We have now completed delivery of the first of our three year contract on behalf of the Commonwealth Department of Health and have over 200 customers participating in the scheme. 

This year, we embarked on the mammoth task of relocating the New South Wales and South Australian warehouses to support business growth. The process was supported by the incredible work of team members who ensured a smooth transition with minimal impact to customers.

Our Mobility Aids Australia (MAA) division is a leading supplier of rehabilitation and healthcare equipment in Victoria. We offer a large range of electric scooters, powered wheelchairs, electric lift chairs, electric beds, manual wheelchairs, lifting hoists, walkers, day chairs and nursing beds. During the year we were pleased to launch a dedicated online portal to better meet the needs of the 35,000+ Transport Accident Commission and WorkSafe Victoria prescribers and clients we support through the supply of equipment and related services. The portal features easy navigation through the full catalogue with the ability to view product details and specifications at the click of a button to enhance the customer and prescriber experience.  

Case Study

Calvary Community Care provides in-home healthcare and support services across six states and territories, including some of the more remote areas of Australia. They began working with Independence Australia in March 2017 and have since expanded the relationship to include new business segments.

Clinical Services Manager, Bronwyn Johnston explained that they were “impressed by Independence Australia’s ability to deliver a diverse range of products to meet a broad spectrum of client needs, directly to our client’s homes in a timely manner.”

“As our range of services developed and grew, the Independence Australia team worked closely with us to ensure the smooth transition of the new program and supported the quick resolution of issues as they were identified,” Ms. Johnston said.

Marketing

$64,000

Raised by the Charity Golf Day

140+

Charity Golf Day Attendees

23

Accessibility Weekend Venues

In March, Independence Australia shot its first television commercial in Bendigo, Victoria. This commercial targeted our national regional customers, conveying the breadth of our product range, which has over 10,000 continence, wound, skin and nutrition products that we deliver straight to the front door of Australian’s of all ages and personal needs regardless of location. The commercial launched in South Australia and was met with very positive feedback. Due to its success, the campaign was extended nationally in May.

Independence Australia continued to roll out our new ‘Your Way’ campaign, strengthening our position as an educator, assisting prescribers to better understand our product range and helping customers navigate the NDIS. Now featuring catalogues, comparison charts, fact sheets and flyers, our range of marketing material is suitable for all customers, providing information to make their lives easier.

In its 14th year, our largest fundraiser, the Independence Australia Daddo Charity Golf Day, raised a record $64,000, making it our most successful day in the events history. A combination of sponsorship packages, player registrations, hole in one tickets and raffle ticket sales helped Independence Australia to achieve this incredible outcome. The funds raised from the golf day help to support Independence Australia’s Psychology and Counselling programs including the newly developed Grief and Loss Program for people with intellectual disabilities living in residential settings. Previously there has been no specific service to provide grief and loss counselling when a resident with an intellectual disability of a shared accommodation facility passes away. This year we collaborated with DHHS to develop a new workshop which provides an opportunity for affected residents to receive support to understand and memorialise their loss. The program has been a huge success, with DHHS expanding delivery to additional houses and bookings being made by other service providers when a resident in one of their accommodation settings passes away.

Human Resources

1,030+

Employees

80.9%

Part time / casual

19.1%

Full time

Responsible for recruitment, payroll, employee relations, advisory and workforce development, the Independence Australia Human Resources team strive to create a positive and productive work environment.

To engage our employees and drive outcomes for organisational success in support of the updated Performance and Development Review Program (PDRP), the Independence Australia’s Online Learning Portal; Learn, Your Way was developed to offer employees a range of training options as a growth and development initiative.

A refreshed online intranet platform was relaunched to facilitate efficient and effective communications for our employees across the organization. The HR Hub now provides access to the self-directed corporate induction program, recruitment, payroll, learning tools and information on our processes and practices.

Throughout the year we have continued to streamline our recruitment practices, providing a better candidate experience with clearer communication, candidate profiling, job matching, and competency based interviewing practices. This has resulted in timely and effective placements, partnered with an improved customer and candidate experience for retention.

Quality & Safety

The Quality & Safety team ensure Independence Australia make no compromises when it comes to the quality and safety of our customers and workforce.

We are always on the lookout for opportunities for improvement. This year saw a 45% increase in incident reports reflecting a clear expectation of early intervention. This has resulted in a 75% reduction in WorkCover claims and a 100% reduction in psychological claims.

The organisation successfully completed a surveillance audit against ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System and Department of Health and Human Services Standards and implemented a new Risk Management Framework.

We are aligning our quality management systems to the NDIS National Quality and Safeguarding Framework. To support this we have invested in a Quality and Safeguarding review, a key initiative to help Independence Australia and its customers achieve a whole organisational approach to person centered care.

We embrace a culture of learning, growth and development, continually building and maintaining positive relationships with all our colleagues and customers within a supportive environment for all.