Support Services

Getting support and keeping up
your health …

Our Services

To support the Society’s mission, the following services are provided to our members at no cost:

• Access to our social worker and clinical support nurse
• Home occupational therapy, dietetics and nutritional assessment and advice
• Medical aids on loan scheme eg. portable oxygen concentrators
• Advice on asbestos related issues
• Telephone support from our volunteers
• Morning teas and support groups in the local community
• Quarterly newsletters with current information on asbestos diseases and issues
• Referral to lawyers experienced in asbestos related compensation
• Register of asbestos exposure
• In-service education for health and allied health organisations

Getting Support

Asbestos Disease Support Society can help

Sometimes it is helpful just to talk to someone about your situation especially if you or a loved one has just been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease.

Call us on 1800 776 412 and you will be able to talk to a friendly and understanding person who can assist you in getting the answers you may need and the help that is available to you.

We can assist you, your family, carer and friends with:

• Information on managing the disease
• Access to free legal advice
• Access to a social worker and occupational therapist
• Dietary and nutritional information
• Support for sufferers;
• Their families and their carers
• Advice on asbestos issues
• Help with accommodation and travel

We can also assist you with travel and accommodation for those living in rural areas of Queensland who are diagnosed with or undergoing investigation for an asbestos related disease and may need to travel to Brisbane to receive treatment. This can be arranged by calling us on 1800 776 412.

Keeping Up Your Health

What is Energy Conservation?

Energy Conservation means looking at your daily routines to find ways to:

• Reduce the amount of effort required to perform certain tasks;
• Eliminate some tasks; and
• Plan in rest periods.

Think of energy like money: You only have a so much, so think carefully about how you are going to
use it!

The application of energy conserving techniques aims to improve quality of life by enabling participation in and completion of activities of daily living.

Energy Conservation is a multi-layered skill that offers many direct benefits:

• Preserving physical function
• Promoting wellness
• Maintaining a sense of personal efficacy

Energy Conservation for Chronic Respiratory conditions:

Chronic Respiratory conditions by their nature have a significant effect on energy levels. With lowered energy, achieving day to day tasks can become very difficult or impossible.

People with chronic respiratory conditions experience reduced lung function which limits available energy and functional capacity. They also experience shortness of breath which can be frightening. This fear can further aggravate shortness of breath even when the slightest exertion is attempted.

The use of energy conservation techniques can preserve energy for use in a staggered way throughout the day.

Energy conservation techniques include coordinated breathing and proper body mechanics to help to relieve shortness of breath and in turn will enhance the ability to cope with daily activities.

Occupational Therapists can teach simple strategies to enable energy conservation. This means more energy for you for longer in your day, and in your week. You can regain the satisfaction of completing tasks that are important to you.

Some essential tips:

Change: Energy Conservation is a skill that has to be learned. The learner needs to be willing to enact change. People are creatures of habit and change can be difficult to implement but it is essential if these techniques are to work.
The body: In order to benefit from Energy Conservation techniques, one must be in touch with their body. They must understand its limitations and be aware of indicators such as muscle tension, heart rate, breathing rate and emotions.
Rest: An essential aspect of Energy Conservation is rest. Rest allows the body to rebuild itself. Resting must be an active choice. That is, it must be chosen as an activity where the body is allowed to be still. (Never as a side effect of being exhausted!)
Help: Energy Conservation may require help from others. If you are typically not good at asking for help, now is the time to learn!

Principles of Energy Conservation

The rationale behind energy conservation is to reduce unnecessary energy expenditure in the body. There are several major principles which can be incorporated into daily activities. These principles are meant to be internalised into daily habits.

Organise your daily routine and activities and plan ahead:

• Plan a daily activity schedule that alternates heavy and light tasks.
• Eliminate unnecessary steps of a task when possible.
• Gather and arrange supplies or tools for daily activities before start.
• Plan sufficient rest after completing a task and before moving onto the next one.

Use appropriate tools to simplify activities

• Use of modern household utensils or electric appliances to save energy, g. non-stick kitchen wares, electric can opener, microwave etc.
• Use assistive devices such as long handled reachers to minimize the need to bend over when retrieving objects from the floor or a shower chair to sit when washing.
• Use wheeled trolleys to assist pushing and carrying heavy object.

Work with proper pacing

• Allow ample time to finish an activity, keep a slow and steady pace and don’t rush.
• Listen to your body messages, rest before you are exhausted.

Avoid tiring and awkward posture that may impair breathing

• Sit down for your activities whenever possible.
• Avoid tasks that require prolonged standing, squatting or stooping.
• Avoid raising your arms too high above shoulder level.

Use of proper body mechanics

• Keep your body straight while performing a task, poor posture consumes more energy.
• Keep your arms straight and close to your body while carrying objects and spread the load between both arms at the same time.
• Support your elbows on table or a firm surface while performing a task to avoid positions that make you tired, e.g. during shaving, peeling vegetables.

How Can Occupational Therapists Help?

An Occupational Therapist can assess your everyday activities, in your home to determine which of the above principles can be applied, and how they can be applied for you.

This is the tip of the proverbial iceberg for Energy Conservation, but starting with these on your own is a great place to start.

Give yourself four weeks of dedicated change and notice the difference!

Occupational Therapy – Information provided by DOTS Occupational Therapy Services

Written by Beth Dermer, Principal Occupational Therapist.

Falls Prevention

Falls are not an inevitable part of illness or ageing. However, they do occur easily with significant results. A serious injury can result in surgery and months in hospital. Ten percent of falls result in hospitalisation.

Be aware though that slips, trips, near misses and falls may be an early indicator of a medical condition. If you are experiencing these, you should seek assistance from your Doctor.

A fall can significantly reduce confidence. Having confidence in yourself and your environment is essential.


The good news is that falls can be easily prevented. A range of simple actions have been found to reduce the risk of falls in and around the home.

Completing simple actions to prevent falls is important. It will assist you to maintain a sense of safety, confidence, independence and wellbeing.


Risk factors

Risk factors for falls are either personal or environmental. Personal risk factors are related to your health and dress. They include (but not exclusive to):

• Low vision;
• Shortness of breath;
• Numbness in the legs;
• Previous falls;
• Reduced balance;
• Dizziness;
• Poor footwear;
• Poorly managed medications;
• Alcohol use;
• Inadequate nutrition; and
• Muscle weakness or joint pain / weakness.

Low levels of physical activity can create some personal risk factors. Chronic Respiratory Conditions by their nature will reduce physical activity. Talk to your health professional about maintaining levels of physical activity while maintaining available energy levels for other activities and managing shortness
of breath.

Environmental factors include (but not exclusive to):

• Trip hazards (such as loose power cords, loose or slipping mats and uneven paths, long bed covers);
• Slippery floor surfaces;
• Poor lighting; and
• Obstacles.

The greater number of risk factors, the higher the chance of falling. Addressing these risk factors can be simple.

Personal risk factors may be addressed by:

• A review of your medications by your Doctor or Pharmacist.
• Re-thinking when you drink alcohol, what type of alcohol you use and how much you drink.
• Shortness of breath in activities can be addressed through medical management and energy
conservation techniques (Occupational Therapy).
• You may benefit from a dietician review to address inadequate nutrition.
• Physiotherapy can help improve muscle strength and balance.
• A podiatrist can look at your foot strength and footwear.
• An Optometrist can determine the best solutions for low vision and lighting.
• An Occupational Therapist can formerly assess your risk of falls.
• You may benefit from a walking aid.

Environmental risk factors can be addressed by an Occupational Therapist.

He or she can assess your home environment (environmental risk factors) and make recommendations
such as:
• Removal of trip hazards,
• Improving lighting and
• Installing assistance where required (such as grab rails, improved home access etc).

The aim of Falls Prevention measures is to prepare you and your home. It is essential that you are confident (not fearful) and as independent and safe as possible. This is the role of Occupational

(Information supplied by Beth Dermer from DOTS)

Taxi Subsidy Scheme

Are you missing out on cheap taxis? Find out how to save on travel.

People with asbestosis and mesothelioma are possibly missing out on hundreds of dollars a year in travel savings because many are not aware they could be eligible for the Queensland Taxi Subsidy
Scheme (TSS).

Under TSS, eligible taxi users have half their standard fares to a maximum of $25 per trip reimbursed by the Queensland Government for any journey within Australia. This means TSS members could pay, for example, only $5 of a $10 fare, $25 of a $50 fare, or $45 of a $70 fare.

A Queensland Transport and Main Roads (TMR) spokesperson said people with asbestosis and mesothelioma could be eligible if they met the criteria.

How to apply

However, there was confusion in the community over who was and who was not eligible. He urged ADSS members to visit the TMR website at: to review conditions and download an application form.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible, taxi users must be permanent Queensland residents and have a disability or illness that meets one of six eligibility criteria. The relevant criteria for people with ssbestosis and mesothelioma

• Has a physical disability or other medical condition that restricts the person from walking unassisted and without a rest for 50 metres or less and
• Makes the person permanently dependent on a walking aid; OR
• Prevents the person from ascending or      descending three steps without assistance; OR
• Has resulted in a history of frequent falls; OR
• Is a condition that is an advanced cardiovascular, respiratory or neurological disorder; OR
• Causes severe pain limiting ambulation, verifiable by appropriate clinical investigations; OR
• Has a physical disability or other medical condition requiring
• The person to ordinarily carry equipment which, when carried, restricts the person from walking,
unassisted and without rest for 50 metres or less; OR
• Someone else to ordinarily carry or administer treatment equipment for the person.

TSS was introduced in Queensland in 1987 to provide an affordable and accessible transport option for people who have profound difficulties using other modes of public passenger transport because of a disability or illness.

Membership is not means tested and members are allowed unlimited taxi trips and subsidies. Members are also entitled to a maximum of 20 interstate travel vouchers a year for taxi travel in any other Australian state or territory.