The Melbourne Refugee Disability Network is currently seeking interested Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists and Physiotherapists to be involved in providing pro bono services to people of refugee & asylum seeker backgrounds. There are a variety of services required, but access to allied health assessment is a particular area of need.
The Refugee Disability Network are willing to provide formal training in working with refugee & asylum seeker patients and interpreters. The State Government have agreed to provide interpreter services for the network.
Australia has committed to accepting 18,750 humanitarian arrivals annually by 2018. We have seen an increase in recent humanitarian arrivals in the last 12 months with complex disability due to the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq. Many of these patients are settling in metropolitan Melbourne, especially in the North and Western regions.
Refugee patients experience a variety of challenges in accessing allied health services:
- Difficulty in getting a diagnosis quickly to enable NDIS or Early Intervention funding
- Delays in allied health assessments for equipment and aids and long SWEP waiting lists
- Language barriers and lack of access to interpreting services in allied health
- Challenges in navigating transport systems to get to appointments
- Lack of health literacy/education which can exclude clients accessing services (esp NDIS)
- Difficulties in home modification in non-permanent housing
- Delays in psychological testing to aid entrance to special school or funding streams
- Non-residents (including asylum seekers) not being eligible for NDIS packages
Disclaimer: This article was provided by Melbourne Refugee Disability Network. While every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network does not warrant or represent the accuracy, currency and completeness of any information or material included within.