Helping a NDIS Participant in Dandenong living with MND

October 25, 2020

Total Health Physio helped a wonderful 57-year-old NDIS participant in Dandenong, VIC.

The gentleman lives at home with his lovely wife and kids. We were proud to engage with this gentleman following a referral received by his incredible support coordinator. We were very pleased to be trusted to provide meaningful healthcare to him and his family.

Why Total Health Physio was Contacted

The participant is living with a neurodegenerative condition: motor neuron disease (MND).

He was diagnosed with MND June 2019, however, did not become an NDIS participant until many months afterwards as he wanted to stay as independent as possible.

Man enjoying summer vacation by the sea, wearing stripe nautical t-shirt and backpack. Image taken in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, capital of Camargue, south of France

In Jan 2019, our client reported an increase in respiratory and musculoskeletal symptoms thus requiring him to quit his job. After much deliberation he engaged with the NDIS to help him with supports and he met with a support coordinator to assist him to navigate the NDIS process. Support coordinators are wonderful assets in the community, they made the recommendation to engage with Total Health Physio.

We were contacted to perform an Occupational Therapy assessment and to identify what ongoing Physiotherapy could be beneficial to help the man live his best life for as long as possible!

The NDIS, Support Coordinator and Total Health Physio would work together to build a support network for the family.

At Total Health Physio, our clients are not a number, we understand the trust that is placed upon us and we knew this family needed more than just healthcare, they needed Trust, Compassion and Care too.

Initial Functional and Home Modification Assessment

The initial assessment was conducted by one of our OTs, this comprised both a functional assessment as well as a home modification assessment.

MND is a degenerative condition, so whilst Physiotherapy cannot change the progression of the disease it can make a big difference to the individual’s quality of life by providing some relief and comfort as the disease progresses.

Physio has the added benefits of providing the participant with purpose and greater comfort with stretching techniques, passive motion and manual therapy including massage and mobilisation of painful and stiff joints. Total Health Physio is here to help in any way it possibly can to make a difference to the quality of life of the patient!

Portrait of happy middle age man enjoying nice sunny day on the beach, wearing green t-shirt and sunglasses, arms wide open

How we Help People Living with MND

We recommend people read our Motor Neuron page for more information about how we treat this condition.

MND is a progressive and variable condition. It primarily degenerates the nerve cells (motor neurons) responsible for controlling our muscles. MND creates indirect atrophy and neurological problems too.

MND can affect people in different ways, such as increased difficulty moving, speaking, swallowing and spreading unpredictably. In this case, the patient’s upper limbs were considerably worse than his lower limbs.

We are well placed to help people living with MND. Whilst acknowledging the reality of degenerative conditions, Total Health Physio will always do our best to achieve the most positive outcomes for our community.

Back view of nurse caregiver support walking with elderly woman outdoor

Setting Goals to Increase Independence

With every NDIS assessment, we complete we always review or set meaningful goals. The goals for this person were summarised as

  • Remaining at home with his family with a plan in place to be able to have a meaningful life despite the rate of decline.
  • Assist children with school and extracurricular activities where possible
  • Attend the local church as required
  • Access the community
  • Maintain verbal communication skills

We love to assist our patients with these goals. To see the smile on a person’s face – even if it’s because of the smallest milestone gives us great satisfaction.

Boutique Healthcare at an Individual Level

Many of the goals expressed related to functional capacity. The person would benefit from Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy & Home Modifications. The suggestions made were

  • Prescription of a four-wheel-walker to facilitate increased walking endurance
  • Prescription of a manual-wheelchair to enable the family to support him
  • Prescription of a mechanical bed (funded by MND Vic)
  • Prescription of safe cutlery
  • Prescription of plates ‘with a lip’ to help with eating
  • Exploring speech and communication devices, such as finger-to-speech devices (Similar to the device used by Stephen Hawking, referred to as an ‘Equaliser’)
  • Modify home access from steps to ramps
  • Replace light switches with touch-pads
  • Install a toilet-bidet controlled by a foot pedal for self care tasks and hygiene
  • At home Physiotherapy, 1 hour per week

This list of interventions would help the participant maintain their dignity and achieve many of his independence goals. Total Health Physio has for many years been performing Assistive Technology requests under the NDIS and are suitable to undertake this responsibility.

Funding from MND Victoria & the NDIS

Fortunately, the client also received funding from MND Victoria. They are a really great organisation and were able to fund a mechanical bed to assist with transfers.

The remainder of the equipment was funded by the NDIS, in which we were required to submit an Assistive Technology Request Form, a Complex Home Modification Report. Total Health Physio also met the builders onsite to implement those modifications together.

If you know someone in the Victorian community living with MND, please, ensure they are aware of the wonderful support MND Victoria provides.

One of our core values is Trust, and we strive to uphold this trust by recommending alternative care pathways if we believe that will lead to better outcomes. In this case, we worked synergistically with MND Victoria.

Response to Therapy

The family were pleased with the recommendations made by our OT. They were also pleased that our recommendations would help the person towards their NDIS goals.

In total, we provided over 10 different interventions (listed above) and we know the family is feeling well-cared for.

Building Trust through Honesty

At Total Health Physio, Trust is one of our core values.

We are mindful that major home modifications can be burdening to the owners and residents of the property. We communicated with the family to receive their input on these matters and acted accordingly.

Our clinicians worked collaboratively with a Neurologist from Calvary Care and the participant’s wonderful support coordinator. This is primarily to discuss equipment trials and modifications to the therapy plan in future.

The family has reported success using the mobility aids provided. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve them.

Total Health Physio – Proudly serving the Melbourne Community

Total Health Physio is proud to represent the NDIS sector to provide honest, trusting & compassionate care.

  • We are NDIS registered
  • We are mobile across South-East Melbourne
  • We offer Physiotherapy, OT & EP
  • We are thorough and professional
  • We offer detailed reporting and prompt communication
  • WE CARE!

Please feel free to contact Total Health Physio to see how we might help you, or a loved one in your care.