Disability care: designed by those who use it

Dr Ros Blakley shares how Bupa Therapy has been created using human centred design.

By Dr Ros Blakley, General Manager of Bupa Medical

For Australians living with disability, health and care means a whole lot more than just words. It means inclusion, respect, teamwork and making life just that little bit easier in a world often designed for people without disabilities.

That’s why I’m proud Bupa has today not just announced its commitment to building and operating a Therapy and Rehabilitation Hub for people with disability, but that we have co-designed the facility with input from people with disability, their carers and clinicians.

To ensure that we met our customer needs we didn’t want to assume we knew best. We spoke to a range of people, gathered literally thousands of data points and even had our customers build Lego models of what they thought the facility should look like and how it should function. Everything from layout to lighting has been considered regarding how it will make for a better customer experience.

The facility will be the first of its kind for Bupa in Australia, located in West Melbourne, and will initially deliver physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to people over 18 years-of-age in a co-ordinated manner. This means customers will only have to tell their story once and travel to one location, making care easier, more convenient and better coordinated.

It will include a dedicated welcome area, individual treatment rooms and a rehabilitation gymnasium for individual and group therapy. Importantly it will also include services especially for carers and other family members including wi-fi, internet terminals, desk space, coffee and tea making facilities and lounges. Carers are sometimes overlooked in the care process but are crucial in its delivery and need to be included.

Our customers told us they value access to quality services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has provided people choice in where they seek those services. Bupa wants to provide quality, team based care to people living with disability to meet their needs. We’ve listened to them and we’re leveraging our skills in health and care to deliver that to them in the one place, in an easy access, team based environment.

While this facility is a first of its kind in Australia, our commitment to rehabilitation is not new. It’s a natural extension of our business and a reinforcement of our role as both a funder and provider of care. To deliver the service we will bring a deep knowledge in complex care and rehabilitation to the new venture. In addition to running seven rehabilitation centres in New Zealand, Bupa today cares for close to 12,000 residents in 130 aged care homes across Australia and New Zealand.

And importantly, we think that health and care should be available to all Australians, which is why the new Therapy Hub will be open to all patients, even if you are with another health fund or don’t have health insurance at all.

If you are interested in registering to use or work at the facility, more details are available here.

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