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Support During a Moving Time

With support from Unisson and his father Laurie, Rhett experienced a smooth transition to his new supported home.

When he turned 68, small business owner and sole carer Laurie Bilsborough reluctantly began the process of organising supported accommodation for his 26-year-old son Rhett, to ensure his needs would continue to be met in the future. Like many parents experiencing this rite of passage with their adult children with disability, it’s a process that evokes a mix of both sadness and optimism.

Rhett had enjoyed several respite holidays at Unisson’s Hornsby cottage and Laurie had been impressed with Unisson’s person-centred active support approach to meet Rhett’s needs, so he chose Unisson as the provider of Rhett’s Supported Independent Living (SIL) accommodation and support.

As well as providing more time to plan and prepare Rhett for the move, Laurie’s proactive approach enabled the goal to move into supported group accommodation to be added into Rhett’s NDIS plan so that SIL and additional Support Coordination funding was available when it was needed.

Laurie is particularly appreciative of the work of his Support Coordinator Justin:

“I take my hat off to everyone involved, but we couldn’t have made it happen if it hadn’t been for my Support Coordinator, Justin. Like most parents, I didn’t have the time to push to make it happen. The paperwork can be totally overwhelming, so to be able to hand most of that over was a relief,” says Laurie.

"..he’s [Rhett] already developed positive relationships with his support staff, which is good. They come across as very professional, proactive and caring,” said Laurie

“I met with Laurie and we talked about Rhett’s requirements,” says Justin De Rhede. “There wasn’t much around at the time and it was a constant search, then a house became available and we all went out to have a look”.

It was a great match for Rhett, as well as another client who is now Rhett’s housemate, and work began on recruiting Rhett’s support staff, furnishing the home and preparing Rhett for the move. Rhett likes his current routine, so it was important to maintain this. Rhett continues to attend his day program and supports to facilitate his love of swimming, painting, football and riding his tricycle were planned into his free time.

Laurie’s life has also changed. Now that he isn’t taking care of Rhett’s day-to-day needs, he’s focussing more time on his business and personal wellbeing, knowing that Rhett is safe and happy. And when he speaks to Rhett on the phone or they spend time together, which is most Saturdays, it’s quality time.

The transition was made easier by the strong connections Rhett has formed with his support staff.

“I did fear that when I’d pick Rhett up and have him for the day that he wouldn’t want to go back,” says Laurie “but it’s been quite easy as he’s already developed positive relationships with his support staff, which is good. They come across as very professional, proactive and caring”.

Rhett says that he likes his new home and he’s beginning to rely less on family, occasionally choosing a house activity over a catch up with family. It’s a bittersweet sign of success for Laurie who says he’s looking forward to one more male housemate of a similar age moving in, to complete the creation of a social, home-like environment. “That will change the dynamics again for the better and create a sense of family,” he says.

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