SSI News Blog

We all need help from time to time to face challenging situations. For Catherine Halliday, a Shoalhaven resident who will be undergoing a cornea transplant next month, this moment arrived a few weeks ago.

Ms Halliday lives independently; however, simple tasks such as house chores were becoming harder for her due to her vision impairment and mobility issues. She approached a local neighbourhood centre for assistance.

Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services provided a volunteer to assist Ms Halliday with grocery shopping twice a week. Once this was arranged, they then referred her to the program Ability Links NSW (ALNSW) to continue exploring other possibilities that would support her.

ALNSW is a program designed to help people with disability, their families and carers reach their potential within their local communities. ALNSW is delivered by Settlement Services International (SSI) and Uniting in the Southern region. Linkers work closely with their participants to support them in achieving their goals and meeting their needs.

Mr Phurbu Tsering is the local SSI linker who supported Ms Halliday.

Mr Tsering met Ms Halliday at her home to help assess her situation and discuss her needs. They spoke about her need for help with house work because her mobility issues restricted her capacity to do basic tasks. They also discussed options to support her in her upcoming surgery in Sydney.

“In order to source urgent domestic assistance, I contacted the Home and Community Care (HACC) program, who approved for Ms Halliday to have fortnightly domestic assistance through the association Blue Heaven Care,” said Mr Tsering. “This was implemented within a fortnight’s time.”

In regards to organising her accommodation in Sydney for the operation, Mr Tsering contacted IPPTAS (Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme), a NSW Government program that provides assistance for patients who have to travel more than 100km to see the nearest treating specialist, and passed the information on to Ms Halliday.

She is now feeling more comfortable about the journey to Sydney and the transplant operation.

Mr Tsering and Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services continue to work together to find a volunteer who can escort Ms Halliday home after the surgery if a friend of hers cannot do it.

“She is very happy with the outcome and relieved as a lot of stress has been removed from her,” said Mr Tsering. “Also, new friendships have been made through this process and this is something she is also enjoying.”

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