Page 1


Summer 2012

On behalf of the NSW HMMS State Council, we would like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to all in the HMMS industry for their commitment and dedication throughout 2012. We wish you and your families a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

It has been a pleasure to represent the HMMS industry in 2012. The State Council team looks forward to working productively with you and to give you every support in what is shaping up to be a very busy and exciting year of change in 2013 due to the ageing and disability reforms.

With our warmest regards The NSW HMMS State Council team


New State Council Executive Office Bearers At the Annual General Meeting held on Monday 3 December, the following were nominated and accepted as Executive Office Bearers of State Council:

Anne Reeve - Chairperson

Bryan Molan - Vice Chairperson

Andrea Thomas - Treasurer

Colin Kjoller - Secretary

We wish them well in their new roles and particularly so during the forthcoming reform period. We would also like to take this opportunity to formally express our sincere thanks and gratitude to Shalla Thomas, Steve Malvern and Ruth Ley for their hard work and commitment to State Council over the years. Shalla served nine years as Chairperson, Steve five years as Vice Chairperson and Ruth four years as Secretary. It should be noted that Anne, Bryan, Andrea and Colin will continue to represent their Regions as elected Ordinary State Council Members as will Shalla, Steve and Ruth who will also be in attendance to assist with the transition of the new Executive.


summer 2012

This Newsletter written and prepared by Christine Casey

National Insurance Disability Scheme (NDIS) It has been an important time for the launch of the NDIS in Australia. In mid November, the Commonwealth Government introduced the first of the NDIS Bills to Parliament which will establish the NDIS framework and set up its Launch Transition Agency. And, at the beginning of the COAG meeting on 6 December, the Prime Minister and NSW Premier announced their historic agreement to a full roll out of the NDIS in New South Wales by July 2018.

The NSW agreement will provide care and support to those 140,000 people with significant disability. Under the agreement, in 2018 the Commonwealth will provide 51.4% of the required funding i.e. $3.32 billion and the NSW Government will provide the rest at a cost of more than $3.13 billion.

From the middle of next year, the NDIS will launch in the Hunter region of NSW and other eligible NSW residents will start entering the scheme in 2016. By July 2018, all eligible residents will be covered by the NDIS. The NDIS will also be launched in South Australia, Tasmania, the Barwon region of Victoria and the ACT.

The Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has promised that, if elected to Government in the 2013 election, they will support the scheme. This has been confirmed by Senator Mitch Fifield, the Opposition Spokesperson on Disabilities who said the Coalition is committed to the 2018 timeline.

National Report - HMMS 2012 Inaugural National Conference Following the HMMS 2012 Inaugural National Conference, the National Stream Facilitator, Glen Sorensen of Age Communications Ltd, prepared a National Report which provides an overview of the content of the Conference National Stream Workshops together with recommendations for the future direction of home modifications nationally.

The NSW HMMS State Council will be working collaboratively in 2013 with representatives of Ageing Disability and Home Care, the Department of Health and Ageing and the NDIS Launch Transition Agency to assist with informing policy pertaining to home modifications both in NSW and nationally.

The Report is at:

summer 2012


Access to Building Code of Australia and Standards


summer 2012

To ensure compliance with the Building Code of Australia and the Standards referenced within it, as full members of NSW HMMS State Council HMMS may access the SAI Global website to gain access to the BCA and Standards. SAI Global’s website address is However, to gain access you will need to contact the NSW HMMS State Council office to obtain the new user ID and password. Call us on (02) 6622 8386.

Training Program for Occupational Therapists in 2013 by Margaret Neuss, Specialist Occupational Therapist

State Council is offering a dynamic training program for Occupational Therapists during 2013 that will include the following one-day workshops:

• Prescribing Ramps and Landings • Major Bathroom Modifications, and • Prescribing Minor Home Modifications

These workshops will be presented in multiple locations across NSW and the timetable outlining locations and dates will be forwarded to all OTs on State Council’s OT email list and to all HMMS/HMS prior to Christmas. This will be followed by the distribution of a flyer for the Prescribing Ramps and Landings Workshop, the first workshop to be presented in 2013. The focus of each workshop is to develop and/or consolidate practical skills that can be utilised by Occupational Therapists in the workplace and, in particular, directly with clients within the home environment. All workshops reflect best practice for Occupational Therapists. Fundamental to all State Council workshops is a person-centred approach to occupational therapy service provision. To ensure that as many OTs as possible receive notifications about the training program for 2013, it would be greatly appreciated if HMMS/HMS could distribute the timetable of workshops for 2013 as well as the flyer for the Prescribing Ramps and Landings Workshop to OTs in their area when available. Also, it would be appreciated if HMMS/HMS could give consideration to sponsoring a local OT(s) to attend any of the above workshops.

summer 2012


New resources for Occupational Therapists 1. OT Report and OT Checklist The Report and Checklist for Level 2 and 3 applications to HMMS have been revised and combined into one easy-to-use Word document. State Council highly recommends the use of this document for all Level 2 and 3 applications to HMMS in NSW. 2. Template for Written Specifications for Major Bathroom Modifications A template for Written Specifications for Major Bathroom Modifications is now available. This comprehensive document covers the wide range


summer 2012

of modifications that may be prescribed as part of a major bathroom modification. State Council highly recommends the use of this document for all applications for major bathroom modifications to the HMMS in NSW. The following link will take you to the Report, Checklist and Template

Livable Housing A new national campaign to create Livable Homes was recently launched at Parliament House in Canberra by Livable Housing Australia (LHA). LHA champions the adoption of seven critical design features to help make homes easier to access, navigate and live in as well as being more cost-effective to adapt when life’s circumstances change. The seven design features are:

• a safe and continuous path of travel from the street entrance and/or parking area to a dwelling entrance that is level;

• at least one level (step-free) entrance into the dwelling;

• internal doors and corridors that facilitate comfortable and unimpeded movement between spaces;

• a toilet on the ground (or entry) level that provides easy access;

• a bathroom that contains a hobless shower recess;

• reinforced walls around the toilet, shower and bath to support the safe installation of grabrails at a later date; and

• a continuous handrail on one side of any stairway where there is a rise of more than one metre

LHA says that it makes sense to commit to livablity features when a home is first designed and built rather than wait for an unplanned need to arise. Livable design seeks to embed the idea that, just like life, our homes should be future-proofed so that they can better meet our needs and abilities both now and in the future. The goal of LHA is to persuade the market to incorporate livability features in all new homes by 2020. A partnership between community and consumer groups, government and industry, LHA originated from the National Dialogue on Universal Housing Design in 2009.

For more information about LHA and Livable Housing Design Guidelines, see summer 2012


Dementia Environment Project HMMS understand that developing an enabling environment for a person living with dementia can make a significant difference to independence, quality of life and wellbeing. A well designed garden or an interior planned with cognitive impairment in mind can provide essential prompts, accessibility and reduce risks to support a person with dementia to maintain abilities and take part in meaningful engagement. In association with the NSW Dementia Training Study Centre at the University of Wollongong, Alzheimer’s Australia has developed the Dementia Enabling Environments Project (DEEP) aimed at facilitating the creation of supportive environments for people with dementia. The DEEP website includes a Virtual Information Centre providing practical tips, guides and resources including simple home modifications, landscaping suggestions and architectural design for dementia care environments.

A most helpful resource for HMMS, Occupational Therapists and for those with dementia and their carers, the DEEP website is at


summer 2012

The Minister for Disability Services recently announced a subsidy scheme to protect the lives of those who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing. An average smoke alarm is much cheaper than those with flashing lights and vibrating under-pillow pads to supplement the sound of alarms which can cost as much as $500. As it is mandatory to have a smoke alarm in every household, the subsidy will mean that these special alarms will now be affordable to those who need them. Applications for the subsidy can be made to the Deaf Society of NSW. For information and application forms, visit

summer 2012


Changes to Prior Approval for the DVA RAP Program The Rehabilitation Appliance Program (RAP) administered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs provides aids and appliances to eligible members of the veteran community to help them maintain functional independence in their homes.

need to seek prior approval for 45 items listed on the Schedule if the quantity limits have been exceeded. Also, for a wide range of items on the Schedule, DVA has removed references to recommended quantity limits in the ‘Comments’ field of the Schedule.

Previously, Prior Approval (PA) from DVA has been required before rehabilitation aids and appliances could be provided to eligible veterans and war widow(er)s. DVA has reviewed the PA items on the RAP National Schedule of Equipment (the Schedule) in order to simplify and streamline the arrangements and to reduce red tape for both service providers and veterans.

One intended outcome is to further reduce the administrative burden on the assessing service provider and DVA contracted suppliers. The Schedule is continuing to be reviewed so there may be more changes to PA arrangements in coming months.

Program. DVA is committed to working with service providers to ensure they understand the purpose and intent of the RAP Program. Major Modifications include: • 1:14 to 1:20 major access ramps

The new PA arrangements will help veterans receive the aids and appliances that meet their clinical needs more quickly. DVA is also improving its support for service providers. Provider information and education programs are being strengthened and post payment and compliance monitoring processes are being improved. From September 2012, assessing service providers no longer need to seek prior approval for 19 items listed on the Schedule. Service providers can now send requests for these items directly to DVA’s contracted suppliers. Assessing service providers also no longer


summer 2012

• Step ramps which exceed the financial limit under the DVA minor modification contract • Full bathroom modifications for accessible shower recesses • Cut down bath

It should be noted that no changes have been made to the eligibility criteria for veterans and war widow(er)s to receive RAP aids and appliances to meet their clinical needs. The prescription for RAP items will continue to be based on an assessed clinical need and service providers still need to complete direct order forms and to document the clinical justifications for prescribing RAP items. In fact, as a result of the changes, veterans will be able to access and receive their aids and appliances even more quickly. With regard to compliance, item requests and claiming patterns are regularly monitored to identify possible overpayments caused by administrative errors or misunderstandings of the RAP

• Stair lifts Requests for major access modifications or major bathroom modifications are NOT to be forwarded to a DVA contracted minor modification supplier. Funding for major modifications for eligible persons requires a detailed report to be submitted directly to DVA and a minimum of two quotes for full scope of works (not separated into two components e.g. rail, ramp). Prescribing Occupational Therapists need to ensure compliance with DVA home modification guidelines.

For DVA major modification guidelines and information go to: For minor modifications, please refer to the RAP National Schedule specific list of minor modifications - November 2012. RAP National Guidelines and the National Schedule of Equipment are available at: When recommending minor modification for white card holders, the clinical need for the modification must be included on your request. For DVA to fund the modification, the clinical need must directly relate to the war caused Accepted Disability. Minor home modifications are not funded by DVA in hostels, nursing homes (and NSW Department of Housing). In July 2011 the Veteran Entitlements Act was amended and states that an “institution� includes retirement village and or a cluster of self-care units. This amendment states that modifications should be supplied by the owner of the institution or the entitled person. For all minor modifications an Authority To Install Form (ATI) is to be signed by the veteran/war widower and also the owner of the property. It is best practice for the OT to obtain written permission from the entitled person and/or owner of the property when recommending minor modifications (ATI). To obtain all relevant documentation go to:

summer 2012


Newsletter DVA Minor Modifications Prior Approval

DVA Minor Modifications Prior Approval Current financial Limit – Nov 2012 (RAP Schedule)

RAP Item No.



Lever Taps


Non Slip Surface

Prior Approval not required unless cost exceeds $665


Rails (Internal & External)


Portable Ramps (includes folding or retractable aluminium) Step Mods

Prior Approval not required unless cost exceeds $1,663


Prior Approval not required unless costs exceeds $1,107


Minor Home Mods

Prior Approval not required unless cost exceeds $1,107


Replacement parts/repairs

Prior Approval not required unless exceeds $554


Stove Isolation Switch


Hand Held Shower

Comments Nil Prior Approval required Non slip surfacing is only provided to wet areas i.e. bathroom Internal and External grab rails and handrails Nil Prior Approval required Widen/increase step tread OR halving existing step height. NOT multiple steps Nil Prior Approval if under combined financial limits e.g. shower curtain rod, wedge ramp DVA will pay for items not covered under warranty. NOT FOR GENERAL HOUSEHOLD REPAIRS Only for high safety risk based on clinical need e.g. dementia Nil Prior Approval – refer to RAP schedule

Please Note: Does not include maintenance of unsafe stairs or standardising uneven steps Please• Note: • Does not include maintenance of unsafe stairs or standardising uneven steps • If more than one step requires modification, this would be considered a major modification


summer 2012

Staff Profile. Q. How long have you been with HMMS? A. 9.5 yrs Q. If you could invite two people past or present to dinner, who would you ask? A. Mel Brooks and Gough Whitlam Q. My family consists of? A. 2 daughters, 2 sons, 2 step daughters 10 grandchildren and my

partner Diane

Q. Favourite holiday destination? A. Tuncurry Q. Favourite food? A. Prawns Q. Book reading at present? A. HACC Guidelines Q. Favourite movie? A. History of the World Part 1

Phil Endean In May 2003 I joined the staff of Kurri Kurri Community Centre Kurri Homework as Works Supervisor and progressed to Project Manager in 2004.

Q. Best piece of advice you have been given? A. from my dad that I didn’t take “only a fool would leave a job in the mines” Q. If down to your last $5 what would you buy? A. A tab ticket on the dogs - $5 a win on number 8, race 8 Q. Favourite type of music to listen to? A. 70s 80s rock Q. Play a sport/ follow which sport/ team you follow? A. Follow Cricket and league, GO THE DOGGIES! Q. If you could fill someone’s shoes for the day, whose would you like to fill? A. Dick Smith so I could get a handle on what drives that man! Q. Most influential person in your life? A. My Grandfather Q. Your moral in life is…? A. “it’s nice to be nice” Q. Type of car you drive? A. Commodore SV6 Q. Dumbest decision you have made? A. when I decided to try and jump an irrigation canal in a Volkswagon

Beetle (6 weeks in hospital)

Q. Tea or coffee or hot chocolate? A. Coffee Q. Best thing about working in the HMMS industry? A. Definitely not the pay! Knowing we are enhancing people’s lives and those

“thankyou” letters.

Q. Your interests and hobbies include… A. Gardening, camping and standing on the beach with a 12ft fishing rod in my hand summer 2012


The New South Wales Home Modification and Maintenance Services State Council is the peak organisation proudly representing HMMS across New South Wales. PO Box 45, Lismore, NSW, 2480 Phone: (02) 6622 8386 Fax: (02) 6622 8693 email:

follow us on


Š copyright 2012 NSW HMMS State Council Inc.

HMMS Link Summer/Christmas Newsletter 2012  


HMMS Link Summer/Christmas Newsletter 2012