Shaye’s Story

“I’m not a statistic…”


In 2019, Shaye’s life changed in an instant, suffering four brain stem strokes within a 24-hour period. Her strong recovery continues to amaze her medical team.


See the Person


After her strokes, Shaye was placed in a coma for five days. When she woke up, she was blind and she could not talk, drink, eat or walk. So began the process of her recovery. “I’m very motivated and determined,” Shaye explains. “Given the intensity of my injury, it was expected that I would be in hospital for 9 to 18 months. However, I fought hard for a chance to be discharged early at 3 months and the request was eventually granted after a family meeting.”


As she was unable to swallow, Shaye was initially tube-fed. The speech pathologist advised her that it might take one to two years to relearn how to eat, or it was possible it might never happen. Shaye pushed herself hard in rehab and was eating within seven months.


From the outset, Shaye saw that the healthcare system prioritised safety and was risk averse, which was understandable. But Shaye believed that she could achieve more outside the hospital framework and that she was not just another statistic. She wanted to be seen as a unique individual with her strengths and aspirations, requiring person-centred support.


OnSide Supports


“The first 8 months of my recovery, I was physically ill and weak,” Shaye explains. “When I came home on early discharge, I was still going through chemo treatment. I couldn’t manage the NDIS even though I have a Bachelor in Business and I am a social worker. I didn’t have much knowledge at all regarding disability. This wasn’t my background.”


Shaye also lives on her own, and while her family visited from overseas when she was in hospital, moving forward, she needed assistance to make sense of everything. “It was a complete shock coming out of the coma and accepting what happened. I had never even been in hospital my whole life or had to navigate through the healthcare system let alone the NDIS. Everything was new to me,” Shaye says. “I needed wholistic support from allied health professionals, including OnSide.”


“I really appreciate OnSide. It played a very important co-ordination role in supporting me to achieve my personal goals.”


Your Goals are Our Goals


“OnSide understands that I am goal-oriented and focused. They respect my individuality and support me to make my own decisions. There is no power imbalance. They never tell me what to do—they ask what I want to do. They respect my rights as a human and my independence.”


OnSide’s independence means that it is always customer-centric which is something Shaye appreciated from the outset. OnSide can work effectively with the Health System to achieve results for its customers.


Shaye is a fierce advocate and is very strong when it comes to standing up for what she needs in a medical setting. “In the hospital setting, it is less about person-centered care. On the other hand, OnSide seeks to understand me as an individual and is able to provide person-centred care and coordination. They ask me what I need, what I want to achieve and what’s important to me,” Shaye explains. It’s the empathy that’s exhibited by OnSide staff that has really stood out.


Looking back, Shaye is very proud of the way she has advocated for herself, but she emphasises that her recovery is about “team work”. “When I get too tired, I need to reach out to OnSide. I know they are on my side. If anything happens, I reach out to my Support Coordinator.”


Shaye’s NDIS plan has just expired and a new plan was put in place. “OnSide was very supportive of my new NDIS plan. We spent quite a lot of time on the phone going through the goals and what I want to achieve prior to my meeting. It was taking a long time but Shaunee was very supportive. ‘If it’s important to you, we need to put it down,’ she kept saying. There was no hesitation.


“I wasn’t happy with the carers provided to me so my OnSide Support Coordinator, Shaunee, set up an excellent support worker. She also came from Singapore and her cooking is amazing and we have so much in common,” Shaye explains. “Shaunee understood it was important for me to connect with my support worker and we have a very similar culture and style. This has been very beneficial for me. With her, I can just relax.”


Shaye also credits Shaunee who provided essential support in her dealing with Centrelink which could be laborious and draining. “Shaunee was very efficient in meeting my needs on a timely basis.”


Next, Shaye wants to go to Korea to attend her best friend’s wedding. She also hopes to volunteer and get back to work as a social worker.