Where it started
Lighthouse Disability has its origins in developments that took place more than a quarter of a century ago. In May 1989, a group of parents whose sons and daughters lived in a State-run nursing home, called Ru Rua, saw that a different kind of accommodation and new standards of care could help supported people more fully realise their potential and improve their quality of life.
Out of this came an organisation known as Leveda that offered supported accommodation for groups of clients in ordinary suburban homes in various parts of Adelaide’s northern suburbs.
The thinking behind Leveda’s establishment was a radical and somewhat political departure from current institutional approaches – and the outcomes it delivered were rapid and substantial improvements in the health, longevity and quality of client lives.
Previously, families with clients had generally found themselves to be disenfranchised and disconnected. They felt little inclined to spend time with their children or siblings in institutional care, with visits being few and far between.
A new way to provide support
After the advent of supported accommodation, the level of family involvement increased dramatically. What made the crucial difference were the sights, sounds and smells of normal households. Supported people now lived in settings where fridges and cupboards were stocked with food, meals were cooked on stoves and washing machines whirred away in the background, and families found all this much more welcoming.
Living in home environments, however, required higher levels of care and skill from support staff. Live-in carers not only had to help run the households but also undertake nursing procedures for clients with complex health needs. As well as training to undertake this work, they also needed to gain knowledge of occupational health and safety procedures for their wellbeing as well as their clients’.
The NDIS and the future
The next development in the history of the organisation arose from the launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme by the Federal government in July 2013, which is bringing about major changes to the way the disability support sector operates.
In response, Leveda rebranded itself in July 2015 with the name ‘Lighthouse Disability’ and has made a number of organisational changes that will enable it to forge ahead under these new conditions.
The changes include a new Constitution, a review of skills required of the Board and testing different service delivery models. On 1st January 2016 the organisation formally became Lighthouse Disability Limited with a new legal framework.
The organisation now accommodates more than ninety people in 27 houses in Adelaide’s north and north-eastern suburbs, having a workforce of over 200 assisted by a number of volunteers.