Listen to Colanda staff, urges disability worker

Disability care worker Tina Hill is worried carers have little input in clients’ future plans.

Disability care worker Tina Hill is worried carers have little input in clients’ future plans.

A COLAC disability care worker is calling for the State Government to take carers’ input into consideration when deciding future care for Colanda residents.

Colac’s Tina Hill, 45, has worked at Colanda for five years and said she was concerned the State Government was moving residents from Colanda out into houses at Stawell and Warrnambool without consulting the people who spend the most time with them.

Mrs Hill said she and her co-workers had developed close ties with clients and always had “their best interests at heart”.

“I entered care work because I have a son and nephew that I care for who have a disability,” Mrs Hill said.

“I started off in the day program where I saw set clients that want to go up there, you get to know them all pretty well,” she said.

Mrs Hill said she had hoped the new National Disability Insurance Scheme would mean people with disability would have good outcomes.

But she said she feared use of a Public Advocate in decision-making bypassed talking to workers who knew the clients best.

“The majority of clients can’t make decisions for themselves so a lot of them were given public advocates; they spend an hour with them and are supposed to make a decision,” Mrs Hill said.

“It should be a mix of whoever has been caring for them over time, a public advocate has to be involved to make it fair, but also staff and other significant persons in their life,” she said.

“Then there’s a better chance of the clients getting the consistency and support they’ve been getting from the people they know – but that’s not happening.”

Mrs Hill said she was concerned Colanda would “shut down by stealth”, with the State Government moving six of the 85 remaining residents to Stawell in the past six months.

The State Government has committed $5.7 million to build four houses in Colac next year to enable 20 Colanda residents to move out of the centre and into residential care.

But Mrs Hill said she was concerned about job security for Colac disability care workers because residents were leaving incrementally.

“When 200 people lose their jobs and leave that is going to hit Colac very hard,” she said.

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