Obtaining your driver’s licence can be challenging, but even more so when you have to overcome a heart attack and a brain injury. 

In 2020 Joanne acquired brain injury (ABI) as a result of a heart attack.  She spent ten days in intensive care and nearly five long months in rehabilitation at Peninsula Health.

The ABI severely affected Joanne’s movement and cognition and her health provider assisted her to apply for an NDIS assessment so that she could receive much needed ongoing support.

When she left rehabilitation Joanne keenly felt the loss of her independence. She was unable to draw on informal networks for support as she had moved to Australia from overseas and now lives alone with her beloved cat in a rural location.

Compounding her sense of isolation, Joanne’s driver’s licence was suspended due to her ABI and she was completely reliant on taxi services or a support worker.

When her NDIS plan was finalised Joanne chose Windermere for NDIS Support Coordination Services. “I’d previously worked with DHHS and I knew Windermere had a good reputation,” she says.

When she initially met with Windermere in mid-2020 Joanne expressed her determination to regain her driver’s licence.

“Joanne was extremely determined right from the very start to get her licence, and she was prepared to work very hard to overcome a great many challenges to get it,” says Windermere Support Coordinator, Kate Louden.

Kate and Joanne’s support worker Pam have supported her to go through the complex steps needed to regain her licence.

Over nearly six months Joanne undertook a series of tough assessments to achieve her goal. They included a peripheral vision test, neuropsychological assessment, medical clearance and an occupational therapy assessment.

In March 2021 Joanne finally achieved her hard-won goal of regaining her driver’s licence.

“I can now go down the road to the shops or the beach whenever I want instead of waiting for my support worker,” says Joanne. She is excited by her newfound independence and now she can drive again has plans to attend a pottery class.

Managing her mental health and participating in community networks have also been challenging for Joanne over the last year. When Pam and Kate learnt of Joanne’s love of horses they encouraged her to begin volunteering with a local organisation called Racing Hearts. The organisation uses retired racing horses to provide various therapies. Kate and Pam also encouraged Joanne to attend a local mental health support group. Recently her support group, Kindred Clubhouse, invited her to take part in an information video talking about her experience of the NDIS, which Joanne very much enjoyed.

“Kate is so brilliant. She’s worth her weight in gold and more. Nothing is too much for her, she always finds the information I need,” says Joanne.

Joanne says it is very important to people in her situation to have a good team supporting them.

“Kate has taught me a lot and is always only too pleased to help. She is happy to help me and will always go over everything with me again until I can remember or understand what I need to,” she says.

For more information about Windermere’s Support Coordination services visit here or call the team on 1300 946 337.

Posted on: 25/03/2021