Creating Support Mechanisms Empowering People to Build a Life of their Choice [Interview][Transcript]

Mary_Rose_Mitchell_Enable_NGOGuest: Mary-Rose Mitchell
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Mary-Rose Mitchell has been with Enable for nearly four years, and through this time have worked in different roles and in this current role for a year and a half. Enable is a not for profit, NGO in which they once primarily supported clients who received Disability Services Commission Funding. However over the years, they have branched into new areas to broaden our horizons which includes Mental Health, DCPFS, Health Department, Insurance Injury Compensation or even through the Education Department. They have had much growth in the past couple of years going from the one office and 88 clients to now 5 offices throughout the Southwest, and 336 clients in which we provide services. With this growth comes new directions, and recently they have employed a Registered Nurse whose primary role is to create and oversee implementation of holistic health care plans.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, Enable‘s Manager of Individual and Family Outcomes Mary-Rose Mitchell joins us to share valuable insights about their organization. They are able to support clients who have very complex medical needs, and have been inpatients for long periods. Some of these services include tracheostomy care, Oxygen administration, suctioning requirements, PEG feeding and in some instances palliative care in the home. As Hospitals are under increasing pressure to discharge patients as soon as possible, this puts Enable in a good position to provide a comprehensive transition for the patient to return home. They work in collaboration with the Medical Teams, Social Workers, associated funding bodies, the client and families, and our values remain in the forefront of our service, individualised and tailored to your own needs, wants and dreams.


Health Professional Radio – Enable

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My guest today joins me from Western Australia, it is Mary Mitchell the Manager of Individual and Family Outcomes for Enable WA. Mary welcome to Health Professional Radio.

Mary Mitchell: Well thank you, thanks for having me.

W: It’s a pleasure. Now Mary, Enable WA doesn’t immediately tell me what it is that your organization does so can you fill us in on what it is you do and what geographic footprint you service?

M: Okay, well we set out 21 years ago under a different name, primarily to support people with disability services commission funding. We became Enable at South West about 7 years ago. And more recently we’ve become Enable WA because of the new area that we’ve been covering. We generally work with individuals to help them reach their goals, we’re an individualized service provider. So it’s all one-on-one, we don’t really do group activities, it’s one-on-one services. And looking at what it is that this person would like to achieve in a certain time frame. And then we match appropriate support workers to help them go through to reach their goal. And recently we’ve got into mental health and also general health using the same philosophy, which is one-on-one, what the person would like to achieve and how we’re going to collaboratively get that for them.

W: I see.

M: And yeah, the geographical area is we were just Bunbury based then we opened in Busselton. And now we’re in Margaret River, Bridgetown, Manjimup and we’re starting venture into the Peel Region.

W: It’s certainly a growing organization by the sound of it Mary.

M: Absolutely, in the 4 years that I’ve been here we’ve gone from the one office in Bunbury and about 86 clients to the 5 offices and about 340 clients, so a lot of growth.

W: Do people need a referral to be sent to you or can they self-refer? How does that work?

M: Generally speaking there is a person has some funding of some sort. And then they come into our organization and we divide the service. But sometimes it can be like via the health department where people from the local hospitals has suggested our organization and they’ve received some money for us to be able to provide a service. We also do our … service so people can just come in and maybe use one of our mentor support workers.

W: Uh huh.

M: And to work with their son or daughter to help them get their license or get better personal hygiene and things of that.

W: Now Mary you mentioned hospitals there and that good for me because 95% of our audience are clinicians of one kind another, and a lot work in acute care and hospitals. Another big group work in aged care. We don’t have a lot of GP’s but we have a few and we got a lot of specialists. So for those clinicians who are listening today what’s the take away message for them?

M: Just that we’re here, we’re available, we have recently employed a registered nurse here who does individualized care planning with health professionals. The view here is that and people that are being discharged from hospital a lot sooner. It’s obviously a better option for them to be cared for in their own home. There’s less sections and things like that around and it’s also a cheaper model. So our registered nurse and I’m a registered nurse myself, we work with these hospitals and doctors and all the health professionals to create a really robust in home care plan. And then ensure that our support workers are trained in those areas so that we can provide pretty complex medical requirements in the home. We’re looking after some kids with tracheostomy, that need airway control, there’s oxygen administration. We’ve got some palliative care clients who’ve been able to discharged and be in their home and with morphine pumps and things like that. And so it’s just a cheaper model, it’s a better model for the client because they get to be around their families. That particular area around health needs and medicals need is becoming quite a growing industry for us and we’re putting a lot of emphasis on that within our own organization and policy and procedure at the moment.

W: Well hopefully we’ll raise some of those awareness today amongst some of the clinical workers who are listening to us. Mary my favorite question in every interviews is about misconceptions and in every industry, in every trade, in every occupation – there are misconceptions. What are the biggest misconceptions amongst your customers, clients, patients in your field that drive you nuts and keep you awake at night?

M: (Laugh) I could name a few.

W: (Laugh)

M: However I guess that a lot of what we do is well a big misconception is that we do everything for people.

W: Uh huh.

M: That is not the case. We like to do things with people. It’s obviously a big difference between those two. We don’t say that we’re gonna come in and change somebody’s life, it’s about them wanting to change their own life and we help guide them through that. Whether that be through a disability or a medical condition if somebody can do something for themselves then we get them to do that and build on those skills as opposed just doing for. I think that’s the biggest one at the moment.

W: That’s an important distinction, isn’t it? That difference between “for and with”.

M: Absolutely. People need to take some responsibilities as well and our role is to mentor and guide people to take that responsibility for themselves. And you get bit in that way and people feel more personal achievement when now to achieve something for themselves as opposed to doing it for other people.

W: Well I wish you well with getting that misconception out of your hair and out of the way. We’ll help a little bit by having some people hear us here today. Mary it’s been a pleasure having you on, thank you for your time.

M: That’s alright, thank you.

W: I’ve been in conversation with Mary Mitchell who’s the Manager of Individual and Family Outcomes with Enable WA. Now if you’d like to get in touch with the organization or with Mary the best way to do that is through the website at Now the website hasn’t gone up with the name change yet so I’ll give it to you again it’s all one word. And you’ll find the contact details you need on there. Mary thank you for your time, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you.

M: Thank you Wayne and have a good day.

W: If you just missed my chat with Mary, the good news is we have a transcript on our website at And you can listen to an audio recording of the interview both on YouTube and SoundCloud. And there are links to both of those also on our website. This is Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar.

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