Yooralla wins two 2019 Victorian Disability Awards

Yooralla has been announced as winner in two categories of the 2019 Victorian Disability Awards.

Yooralla’s Board Member, Dr Jane Tracy, won the Lifetime Achievement Honour Roll and the Ventilator Accommodation Support Service (VASS) Steering Committee – won the Excellence in Promoting Rights, Fairness and Safety Award.

Yooralla’s Equal@Work program partnership team was also a finalist in the Excellence in Employment Outcomes Award category.

The Victorian Disability Awards recognise the achievements of organisations, individuals and teams that support, lead, educate and advocate for people with disability, increasing their rights and participation.

Dr Jane Tracy – the Lifetime Achievement Honour Roll

Yooralla’s Board Member, Dr Jane Tracy, has made a highly significant contribution to the disability sector over the past 30 years. She has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving the healthcare and quality of life of children and adults with disability through her work with mainstream healthcare services in Victoria.

As a long-standing and well-respected medical professional, academic, author, lecturer, public speaker, disability rights advocate and parent of an adult son with disability, Dr Tracy has an exemplary track record of creating systemic change within the disability and healthcare sectors towards individualised and rights-based support for people with disability.

Examples of her work include:

  • Advocating for the inclusion of developmental disability health within the medical curricula in Victorian Medical Schools and within requirements for medical practitioners.
  • Medical, dental and allied health professional student teaching (to over 700 Victorian students annually).
  • Providing professional development opportunities and online resources for General Practitioners.
  • Leading a multidisciplinary team at the Centre for Developmental Disability Health.
  • Developing Health and Disability: Partnerships in Action,a teaching package for health and disability professionals, in collaboration with 6 people with disabilities, their support networks, and a team of health professionals. It has been widely used by those involved in medical, health and disability education in Australia and forms the foundation of Victorian medical student disability health teaching.
  • Publications and presentations: Jane has shared her knowledge and perspective through publishing in health, medical and disability publications. She is a well-respected author in the field and is regularly asked to peer review publications.
  • Developmental Disability: Management Guidelines (Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd). Jane wrote chapters in the 3 editions of this publication, which is part of a suite of books on medication and management available to and used by all GPs and many other medical and health practitioners in Australia.

The VASS Steering Committee

The VASS Steering Committee (SC) was formed in 2007 by a group of volunteers, comprised of those who are dependent on ventilation or have a ‘lived experience’, to represent the rights for over 1000 ventilator dependent Victorians.

The VASS SC was fundamental in the creation of Yooralla’s VASS – a world-class purpose built accommodation, which provides tailored supports for ventilator dependent people. Yooralla’s VASS is the only facility of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

The VASS SC ensures that people with complex health and disability needs can live well, direct their own care and have genuine opportunity for community inclusion.

The VASS SC has been at the forefront for advocating for the rights, fairness and safety of ventilated dependent people, in educating the medical community about their needs, and ensuring that VASS continues to provide be a best-in-class social model of person-centred care.

Through their unique lived experience, the VASS SC educates stakeholders of the social, economic, civic and healthcare barriers experienced by Victorians on ventilators. Some highlights of their work include:

  • They have advocated for the rights of ventilator dependent Victorians to ensure that they could receive adequate funding so that they can access VASS – both accommodation and respite. They are now engaging with Government to ensure that people aged over 65 on ventilators can continue to access VASS, rather than be placed in aged care which would not meet their high care support needs.
  • The SC successfully lobbied to secure funding for 24 hour nursing support at VASS to ensure optimal safety of all residents at the site. This has meant that residents can live safely with access to both medical, and disability supports, within a community based model.
  • The SC identified the importance of engaging with the medical community about their needs and also encouraging registered nurses to consider the options of supporting people in high and complex needs. Consequently the SC met with representative of the RMIT undergraduate nursing program to share their personal stories and highlight the importance of registered nurses to supporting their complex medical needs and hence their quality of life. This engagement was so positive that a VASS resident has since then presented to undergraduate nurses at RMIT about their lived experience. It has also led to an undergraduate nurse placement program at VASS to build their experience at the service.

Congratulations to the VASS SC and Dr Jane Tracy!

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