Census data shows that approximately 18%* of Australia’s population lives with a disability. This means that about four million people in Australia have a condition that restricts, limits or impairs a person’s mental, sensory or physical functions.

Disabilities can be caused by accident, trauma, genetics or disease and may represent a temporary or permanent, total or partial, lifelong or acquired, visible or invisible effect on the individual which has been diagnosed.

Living with a disability presents a number of unique challenges to an individual and their family.

Living with a disability presents a number of unique challenges to an individual and their family. Resulting in people facing additional expense on top of their basic costs of living. These costs can range from modifications of existing housing (and lack of options in the housing market), the need to purchase personal care and accommodation support services and additional health care costs.

People with disabilities have a right to expect good quality care and access to accessible services, housing and other supports that is affordable, safe and secure and that meets their needs.

Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Qld Ltd has a core mission to strengthen communities and empower people to live to their fullest potential. It would be impossible to fulfill this mission without working with and supporting those living with a disability as well.

For this reason Lifeline Darling Downs has developed division of our organisation that does just this.

Tranquillity Care Services, was established when the NDIS was rolled out in the region in January 2017. The service commenced with one staff member and no participants. In three short years we have seen this service expand to employ more than 80 staff supporting over 300 participants.

Many people living with a disability experience ongoing social isolation so the measures introduced to control the spread of COVID-19 in March 2020 had a significant impact on their interactions and opportunities for community engagement. Adherence to the regulations was particularly important for many of our participants who are very vulnerable to an illness such as COVID 19.

We provide day-to-day supports for many participants who rely on our NDIS Support Workers

We provide day-to-day supports for many participants who rely on our NDIS Support Workers to assist them with services such as shopping, personal hygiene, meals and medication.

These essential services continued to be provided over the course of the shut down even though workers were aware that they may be putting themselves, their families and the participants at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. Our team members were, and continue to be, committed to delivering the supports our participants require to live their life their way.

However, continuing to provide our services and respond to the individual needs of participants during this period has not been without its challenges.

Melissa Volp (Tranquillity Care Services Manager) had to adjust our services and our roster to ensure requirements for self-isolation would not impact on our ability to provide supports. During this period a small group of workers stayed in a hotel for several nights while awaiting test results after a participant was suspected of contracting the virus.

With essential supplies and PPE limited the team was forced to innovate and get creative.

With essential supplies and PPE limited the team was forced to innovate and get creative. The community also responded to the short supply of essential personal protective equipment with local businesses donating hand sanitiser and people making face masks for our staff and participants.

The team is grateful for these acts of kindness and the acknowledgment that they chose to risk contracting the virus in order to continue to provide services to our participants.

It seems, at this stage, that (as a community) we have controlled the spread of the virus, and the Tranquillity Care Services team are grateful to those that stayed home, as it helped keep everyone safe and well during this difficult time.

...perhaps our new normal will include a sense of gratitude for little things like good friends and family and small acts of kindness...

Like everyone else we are looking forward to things returning to normal and to our participants having the freedom to engage in the activities that they enjoy. We have all learned a lot about what we can achieve and overcome when we work together, so perhaps our new normal will include a sense of gratitude for little things like good friends and family and small acts of kindness that keep us all safe and well.

If you or someone you know are interested in Tranquillity Care Services you can find out more by contacting the team - email now.

Also, take a moment to read about our services here.

As always, if you or someone you know is experiencing crisis please call 13 11 14 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or text 0477 13 11 14 between 6pm and midnight 7 days a week.

For all other enquiries you can contact Lifeline Darling Downs on 1300 991 443.

*ABS, 2011, Disability Australia 2009