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Cootharinga North Queensland offers a variety of services to reach our purpose of assisting people to live the life they want. We have many passionate teams throughout our regions that live by our purpose in all that they do. One of our teams that stand out is our Equipment Solutions team.
Equipment Solutions has been a part of the Cootharinga North Queensland service for many years, making modifications and repairs to hundreds, if not thousands of customers’ mobility equipment, particularly seating in wheelchairs, to assist customers to become more independent, comfortable and safe.
You may have heard of or seen Jeff Parsons, Equipment Solutions Team Leader, on our social media pages or posters. We took some time with Jeff to learn more about Equipment Solutions, the team and the amazing work that they do.
What was originally supposed to be a half-hour interview with Jeff, turned into over an hour of passionate stories and conversation about the work produced by the team and the joy they each get when they do the final handover of a project, especially when the team gets to see the responses from customers and how much of a difference the modifications have made to assisting customers to live more independently.
What is Equipment Solutions and what service do you provide?
We mainly work with customers, their therapists and support networks to provide comfortable and safe seating, primarily to wheelchairs. We do custom modifications to footrests, thigh supports, armrests, headrests etc., also customer fishing rod holders, cup holders, iPad mounts, anything you can think of we will work with you to find a solution.
Tell us a bit about you and the Equipment Solutions team.
I have a metal trades background and have worked in small business prior to joining Cootharinga over 12 years ago. Neil also has a metal trades background with various background experience in construction and has been a part of the team for almost two years now. Brett is the newest member of the team with a mechanical and metal trades background. And we can’t forget about Brenda who keeps all of us boys in line. She is the smiling face that greets you and takes the time to understand and get to know our customers, their therapists and families and pulls everything together so we can get the job done.
What makes you excited to come into work each day?
I like the fact that pretty much every job is different and when I get to see the smile on people’s faces when things come together and work for them. To see people safe and comfortable is an important part of our job.
How do Equipment Solutions best support customers and their therapists?
We do maintenance and repairs to mobility equipment. Each project we work closely with the customer and therapists to make sure modifications made meet the customers’ needs and assist the customer in achieving their goals. We cater for NDIS and self-funded participants and aged care. When making modifications, it is a balance between safety and comfort for our customers. Equipment Solutions also offers pressure mapping to assist us and the therapists in making the right modifications. We want to see our customers use their abilities to reach their goals and gain more independence.
What do you find most interesting about working within the disability/mobility sector?
The variety of differences in what people need. Every person has a different need and goals. Not one thing fit’s all. That’s why we work with therapists and customers closely to make each project suitable for each person.
What do you like most about working for Cootharinga North Queensland?
All of us in the team like the idea of being able to use our skills to help people, even if it is in some small way.
What would you say to someone considering getting modifications to their mobility equipment?
Use your abilities to the best of your capabilities, even if you need some modifications to help get you there. Consult with your therapist as to what you would like to achieve. What are your goals? No matter how small or big. We work towards what we can to assist you in achieving those goals for a better quality of life.
What is Outreach?
We welcome therapists and customers from all around North and Far North Queensland. Through the outreach program, we visit Cairns, Mackay and Mount Isa several times throughout the year. Therapists refer customers from these regions and we work with the therapist and customers to produce a scope of works where we take extensive measurements, build and prepare the modification as much as possible prior to our visit to the customer. During our outreach, we then meet with the customer and their therapist to do final assessments and make any adjustments if required. The projects are turned around in a timely manner, ensuring a high standard of work and safety standards are met.
What does the future of Equipment Solutions look like?
We used to just focus on fabrication projects but we are starting to focus a lot more on custom and commercial items. We are finding the balance between converging custom and commercial modifications to ensure we are meeting the customer’s needs. We take pride in all of the work we do and look forward to assisting customers to reach their goals, in whichever way we can.
The Equipment Solutions team are qualified tradesman that are passionate about their work and the outcomes for our customers. If you or someone you know is wanting to make modifications to their mobility equipment, the team are here to discuss with you the possibilities to assist you in living the life you want.