By Tony Thomas, Rotary Club of Central Melbourne
Rotary Central Melbourne’s newest member Dr Lynne Webber has a job the public knows little about. Her role in the State Department of Health and Human Services is to research and find ways to reduce the use of chemical and physical restraints on people who have multiple disabilities.
There are about 2000 such people in Victoria, aged from 6 to 65.
Many have combined intellectual disability and other disabilities, such as, epilepsy and mental illness. She says, “The vast majority are given chemical restraint, such as sedatives and other medicine. Our goal is to help disability services make sure any restraint is a last resort and then only short-term.”
She cites one case of a young man who was born with multiple disabilities including blindness, paraplegia, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. He grew up knowing only institutional care. For 20 years he needed splints to prevent his only form of communication, which was self-harm. She’s really pleased that he’s now been without this restraint since October 2014 and there’s an amazing improvement in his well-being.
Lynne’s recreation is surprising: she’s a mad enthusiast for the Argentinian tango.
Interested in volunteering? Contact Lynne 0419538929