When little things make a big difference

Being a disability support worker at KinCare is more than just a job for Angela Chapman. Angela finds it incredibly rewarding to build a close relationship with her customers, like Ludvig Kerec, whom she has worked with for five years, and seen him achieve his goals.

“I simply love visiting Lud every day,” says Angela, who leads a team of dedicated KinCare disability support workers who assist Lud and his wife Margaret on a daily basis.

In 2010, Lud was involved in a serious cycling accident that left him a quadriplegic. When Lud recovered enough to move back home to Canberra, his family had difficulties finding suitable in-home care.

“There is a lack of accessible housing and a lack of appropriate care services, even for people who are willing to pay.” says Lud’s son Andrew.

Finally, the Kerec family found KinCare. KinCare took the time to pair Lud and his family with Angela, one of our skilled support workers, who not only has the right qualifications to care for Lud, but was the right fit for the whole family.

Angela, or another support worker from the KinCare team, would spend most weekday mornings with Lud, assisting him with getting up and ready for the day. Angela was able meet Lud’s high-level needs and is respectful, reliable and trustworthy. She has also helped Lud to focus on identifying and achieving health and wellbeing goals.

“Angela is a very helpful and steadying influence in our home,” says Lud. “It’s important to me, and to my family, to have regular people coming around that we can trust.”

Over the five years she has been supporting Lud, Angela has transitioned into an administrative role, now ACT State Delivery Team Leader at KinCare. However, she has continued to proudly support and care for a few families she has built a real rapport with.

“The little things really do make a big difference in people’s lives,” says Angela, “I know that by doing my bit in the morning, the family have more time to make plans, to look after themselves, and to enjoy their lives together. Helping people in that way is very rewarding.”

Having support from KinCare has eased a lot of the pressure and stress felt by Lud and his family, allowing them to start to enjoy holidays and activities together.

“We have complete confidence in the care Dad receives from KinCare,” says Lud’s son Andrew. “Since they’ve come on board mum and I have enjoyed being just a wife and a son again. There are still highs and lows, but we’ve been able to go back to doing the things we love most as a family.”

Seeing the family recently come together to organise a 5,450km charity bike ride from Canberra to Humpty Doo that Andrew completed in early 2017, was a rewarding experience for all involved, including Angela. Lud was able to start and finish the ride alongside Andrew and his other son Malcolm using a hand-cycle, thanks to support from Angela and her team.

“I wish I could have travelled up to the Northern Territory with Lud, but my role was more about supporting Lud through his training and preparation ahead of the ride,” says Angela.

Outside their daily routine, Lud and Angela have formed a great connection built on common interests of reading and poetry. Lud tests both himself and Angela on remembering lines from the 15 Australian poems he knows by heart.

For Angela, this past-time activity with a special customer is just one of the many reasons she loves being a disability support worker with KinCare.

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Our dedicated team of disability support workers make a real difference to the lives of people with disability and their families. If you’re looking for a fulfilling career where you can support people to reach their goals, while also learning and growing on the job, contact KinCare today. We have a huge variety of jobs available all over Australia.

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Not Slowing Down

Seven years after a cycling accident left him a quadriplegic, Ludvig Kerec was back in the saddle to join his son, Andrew as he finished a five and a half thousand kilometre ride for SpineCare Australia in honour of his dad. It was a moment Lud will cherish forever.

In 2010, Lud’s life and that of his family changed irreversibly. While on a light training ride to prepare for an Ironman Triathlon, Lud, who was 60 at the time, was involved in a cycling accident and suffered a severe spinal cord injury. Damage to his C5/C6 caused him to lose close to all function below his chest, including his hands and chest muscles.

Determination, strength and unwavering support from his family in the years since has seen Lud regain his physical and mental health – but it hasn’t been easy.

“There were so many barriers we had to deal with that just didn’t need to be there,” said his son Andrew, who, alongside Lud’s wife Margaret, was one of his primary carers during the year following Lud’s release after seven months in hospital. “There is a lack of accessible housing and a lack of appropriate care services, even for people who are willing to pay.”

When Lud left hospital to continue his recovery at home, he and Margaret were lucky to be able to temporarily move in with Andrew and his wife Jodie, who made modifications to the plans for their new home which was under construction at the time.

Eventually, Lud and Margaret moved into their purpose-built accessible home, but they then faced difficulties finding suitable in-home care. Lud not only needs assistance getting up and showered in the morning, he also requires bladder and bowel care – a service that was scarcely available in Canberra at that time. “Mum and I took turns caring for dad, and we were willing to do it,” said Andrew, “but, boy, did I need a sense of humour at times to get through it!”

Five years ago, the Kerecs found KinCare and a team of disability support workers who were able to meet Lud’s high-support needs. It has made all the difference to the family, allowing Andrew and Margaret to resume their roles as son and wife, rather than carers, and Lud to focus on continuing to regain his strength.

Support from KinCare has eased a lot of pressure for everyone in the family, and helped Lud have goals to work towards with his family.

One of those goals has been to help Andrew plan and organise The Spine Tingling Ride, an ambitious fundraising mountain bike ride from Canberra to Humpty Doo that Andrew completed in early 2017. A former cartographer, Lud helped Andrew plan the 5,450km mostly off-road route, while physically preparing himself to join Andrew at points in the ride. Having made remarkable physical gains over the past few years, Lud was able to start and finish the ride alongside Andrew using a hand-cycle. With his other son, Malcolm also by their side, the Kerec men rode into Humpty Doo together to complete the epic journey and raise funds and awareness for spinal cord injury.

It was a great achievement for everyone involved and a special moment for the close-knit family. With months of planning and training now behind them, the family is looking forward to a less strenuous holiday together to the Kimberly in Lud and Margaret’s new accessible 4WD. It seems there’s no stopping Lud now!

Support to help you achieve your goals

We provide NDIS, state government and privately-funded care to Australians with disability. We will work with you to ensure the services and supports you choose are tailored to your individual needs. Visit our disability support page to find out more.