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Advocating for people with all abilities

Kylie Webb is using her own experiences as a staff member and consumer to ensure Peninsula Health is meeting the needs of people with all abilities.

“Five years ago I was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis (NF), which means that I grow tumours at any nerve ending, which is causing me to lose my hearing,” explains Kylie.

“Since then I have been a big advocate for people with disabilities.”

At the time of her diagnosis, Kylie was working in Reception at Peninsula Health and occasionally doing nursing shifts.

“Reception was too noisy for me – I would find it really difficult when someone came up to ask a question because I just couldn’t hear them,” says Kylie.

“I only hear the middle of words, so I basically have to piece things together. I have been really lucky that I work in such a supportive environment and I was able to change roles to a job that was right for me.”

Kylie now works in a quieter environment, managing the administration staff for Rehabilitation, Ageing, Pain & Palliative Care Services. Her colleagues know the best ways to communicate with her.

“I have been well supported with all the workers that I look after. They know to either text or email me or wait until we are face-to-face rather than try to call me on the phone,” says Kylie.

“We have also made modifications to this office so it is more suitable. The floor was carpeted to reduce the echoing sound and we changed the configuration of the desk, so that I could see the door. Previously my back was turned to the door so I would be jumping through the roof every time someone came into my office!”

Kylie joined the Disability Community Advisory Group (CAG), and was involved in creating the Disability Action Plan (DAP).

“The DAP is basically a framework to help develop and implement actions to make sure that people with disabilities have access to the services and it is inclusive,” says Kylie.

“A big part of the DAP is to make staff and other community members aware of people with a disability, and what it is we go through on a daily basis so they think about their own behaviours. This might be introducing themselves or always looking at somebody when you are talking to them.”

“Through the DAP we are also able to make sure that the environments where we provide services are set up correctly and are accessible to everyone.”

Kylie brings her experiences as a consumer at another health service to Disability CAG meetings, to help improve the care we provide at Peninsula Health.

“I love being involved in the CAG and knowing that we are making a difference not only to ourselves, but the whole community who come in and use the health service, as well as other staff members.” Kylie says.

The 2019-2022 Disability Action Plan was launched in March 2019.

This story was first published in our 2019 Quality Care Report. Read the full Report online here.