Our staff are our best asset.
We employ over 40 staff across all three disciplines, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology. Many of our clinicians have 10-20 years experience in their field. They are all professional, dedicated and caring people who have a thorough understanding of the complexities involved with general and neurological rehabilitation and the changing needs in the disability sector with the introduction of the NDIS.
Alex Scott, Physiotherapist, Acting Team Leader
Libby Bussau, Physiotherapist, Senior Clinician
Emma Downey, Physiotherapy Clinical Mentor
Amy Neve, Physiotherapist
Nadia Larsen, Physiotherapist
Isabelle Tivey, Physiotherapist
Melanie Henry, Physiotherapist
Julie Nguyen, Physiotherapist
Monique Cornelisse, Physiotherapist
Sahba Dehghani, Physiotherapist
James Morley, Physiotherapist
Nicole Pendrey, Occupational Therapist
Katie Dawe, Occupational Therapist
Shimila Drysdale, Occupational Therapist
Jess May, Occupational Therapist
Katie Hall, Occupational Therapist
Tanya Belic, Occupational Therapist
Amanda Ncube, Occupational Therapist
Aleksia Jensen, Occupational Therapist
Annie Oliver, Occupational Therapist
Li Li, Occupational Therapist
Alicia Hutchinson, Occupational Therapist / Intake Coordinator
Julie Sutherland, Referral Relationship Manager
Beck Joyce, Practice Administrator
Catherine Tiernan, Administrative Assistant
Alicia Hutchinson, Intake coordinator / Occupational Therapist
Full staff profiles can be seen below.
Kate founded Independent Rehabilitation services in 1999, following a long career working in public rehabilitation. With the IRS service delivery model she has successfully combined working with a population she is passionate about (ABI and other neurological disorders) in a community setting with a multidisciplinary team.
Kate has worked in and researched other rehabilitation centres in the UK as part of her post graduate qualification at Melbourne University and has also worked in neurorehabilitation in Canada.
Kate currently is Clinical Lead in Disability and Physiotherapy (Neurological) Consultant on the TAC Clinical Panel and is completing her PhD through the Neurotrauma Evidence Translation (NET) program at Monash University.
An advocate for maximising quality of life in the ABI population, Kate strongly believes that ongoing and optimal outcomes are achieved when clients are seen in their own environment, particularly in the final stages of rehabilitation.
Natalie graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in 1993 and commenced her career working at the Austin Repatriation Hospital and then moved to Donvale Rehabilitation Hospital and The Victorian Rehabilitation Centre in the Vocational Unit, assisting clients following severe injury to return to work. Following further study in Occupational Rehabilitation and spending time working as a Vocational provider, Natalie then traveled and worked overseas. It was here she was exposed to a wide range of neurological and general medical conditions in an acute and inpatient rehabilitation setting. This sparked her interest in working with clients with both neurological and complex conditions and wanting to further develop her skills in a community rehabilitation setting.
Natalie commenced with IRS in 2005 as a Senior Clinician and in 2009 became Occupational Therapy Team Leader. In 2015 she was successful in being appointed Allied Health Leader at IRS. In 2016, Natalie commenced running the IRS practice.
Natalie is passionate about ensuring that the practice continues to provide exceptional neurological and general rehabilitation in a community setting. She enjoys working in the unique setting of IRS and values working with a team of clinicians that strive to achieve highest quality outcomes for their clients. She believes that culture is everything in a workplace.
Having attended numerous NDIS information sessions over the past few years, Natalie is now excited about supporting IRS clinicians in their work with participants and their families in the NDIS sector.
Alex completed her Physiotherapy degree in 2011 at the University of Newcastle in Australia and has an eclectic work history across a variety of clinical settings, both in Australia and the UK.
Alex takes great pride in empowering her clients to self-manage their health conditions, within their home environment. Alex finds her work hugely gratifying and it continues to give her a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Alex has particular fascination for pain science and is currently halfway through a Master of Science in Medicine (Pain Management) through the University of Sydney. She is passionate about environmental sustainability and admits to being a voracious consumer of science podcasts.
Libby graduated from The University of Melbourne in 2001 with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy with Honors. She worked at Northern Health gaining a broad range of experience across the public hospital system in acute and sub-acute settings. Libby joined the IRS team in 2005 to further her interest in neurological physiotherapy and her desire to work with people in community rehabilitation. She likes to work with people to achieve their real and functional goals, getting people to reach their best level of function whether that be walking, running, a sporting activity or something more functional that they can do around the house to make their lives easier.
Libby enjoys all aspects of neurological rehabilitation and enjoys the challenges that come with these complex clients present. She has experience with an extremely wide range of conditions including acquired brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, MS, MND, PD and a range of rare neurological disorders. She has a very caring and professional manner and is extremely thorough in her treatment planning.
Emma is a Physiotherapist who graduated in 2005 from the University of South Australia. She has worked in the acute care, rehabilitation and the disability sector both in Australia and in the UK, giving her a wide breath of experience and knowledge. She developed a special interest in neurological rehabilitation 9 years ago while working in London and has since specialized in working with clients with ABI and progressive neurological disorders, helping them to maximize their recovery and independence. She is passionate about teaching and as well as being a clinical supervisor for a number of years, has run student clinics for Disability SA and tutored for La Trobe University. She is currently undergoing her Masters in Clinical Rehabilitation.
Nadia completed her Physiotherapy degree in New Zealand in 2011. She started her career working in Wellington, NZ in a rotational position including acute care, rehabilitation and outpatient clinics. For the last three and a half years she has been working in the UK in community and inpatient neurorehabilitation. This has given her a wide range of experience in progressive neurological conditions, traumatic brain injuries and stroke. Nadia has developed a keen interest in neurorehabilitation during her work in the UK and finds working with clients in the community very rewarding. She enjoys building relationships with her clients and supporting them to reach their personal goals.
Amy completed her Physiotherapy degree at Charles Sturt University in 2002. Since this time, she has worked in both Australia & the United Kingdom within a variety of acute, sub-acute, & community settings. She has developed a specific interest in Neurological Rehabilitation & loves working with clients at home & in the community due to the variety & challenges this work provides. She believes ‘Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, & mental states’ & ‘ Behind you are challenges you’ve met. Before you lies new possibilities’.
Amy is currently on maternity leave and plans to return to work part-time in December this year.
Isabelle graduated as a physiotherapist from Monash University in 2013. Since then, she has worked in a range of physiotherapy specialties in both private and public systems, across the whole spectrum of health – from admission into the Emergency Department, to helping clients achieve their goals in the community. Her experience includes over a year spent specifically with clients after traumatic brain injuries, as well as several rotations working with those who have had strokes, spinal cord injuries, and progressive neurological disorders. This has instilled in her a strong passion for neurological physiotherapy.
Isabelle, or “Izzy”, loves working with new people and enjoys problem solving to help clients achieve their goals.
Mel completed a Bachelor of Health Science at The University of Tasmania in 2007, before completing her post-graduate Doctor of Physiotherapy at Bond University, Queensland in 2010.
Mel has worked across a variety of clinical settings, majorly in acute orthopaedics and women’s health in Hobart, Tasmania, before following her passion to work in community rehabilitation. Mel loves the team-based environment both personally and professionally – particularly when clients achieve their ultimate goals!
Mel has worked extensively in community health settings within Victoria with a strong emphasis on educating patient’s and their carers in chronic disease management. Over the past 2 years Mel has focused on more intensive community based rehabilitation – pursuing her career in the neurological rehabilitation field. Mel has a strong interest in the management of movement disorders, in particular Parkinson’s Disease and is an LSVT certified clinician.
More recently, Mel has also developed an interest in the emerging field of oncology rehabilitation and enjoys working with this client-base as she values the fact that everyone’s cancer journey is unique.
Julie graduated with Bachelors of Health Sciences and Masters of Physiotherapy Practice from La Trobe University in 2015. With experience in large public and private hospitals, she has gained a broad range of skills having worked in various settings from acute hospital, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation and community health settings. During this time, Julie developed a strong passion for rehabilitation and a particular interest in neurological physiotherapy.
She is passionate about working collaboratively with her clients and their families to achieve their goals, facilitate independence and optimise their quality of life.
Monique graduated from the University of South Australia with a Masters of Physiotherapy. Working previously in aged care she has gained experience in working with clients presenting with diverse conditions. Her areas of interest and specialities include stroke rehabilitation, progressive neurological disorders and dementia. She is particularly passionate about balance and falls prevention, functional rehabilitation and empowering clients on their road to recovery.
Sahba is an enthusiastic new graduate from the 2017 Doctor of Physiotherapy cohort at the University of Melbourne. With a background in Psychology and research, she is passionate about holistic client care and taking into account all of the factors affecting a client’s wellbeing when implementing a physiotherapy program. She has worked in both acute and long-term rehabilitation settings as an Allied Health Assistant during her physiotherapy degree, sparking in her a keen interest in the development and care of chronic neurological conditions. Having lived in a number of different countries, Sahba is also focused on the role that culture plays in health, and effective intercultural communication for optimal treatment.
James recently completed his Physiotherapy degree at the end of 2017. Throughout this course he developed an interest working with complex and neurological clients. James has working experience in spinal cord injury and intellectual disability and has had opportunities to train in a broad range of healthcare settings throughout his degree. He firmly believes in the importance of client-centred care and is looking forward to the challenge of working in community rehabilitation.
Pip completed her Occupational Therapy degree in New Zealand in 2007. Since this time, she has worked in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia within a variety of acute, sub-acute and community settings. She has developed a keen interest in Neurological Rehabilitation and Aged Care.
Pip enjoys the client centered approach of community rehabilitation and loves that no two days of work are the same. She appreciates the challenge of working with complex clients and displays a practical problem-solving approach to her work.
Pip has a particular interest in Motivational Interviewing and using this to help client’s resolve ambivalence and deepen motivation to pursue the changes that are meaningful to them. She is also passionate about supporting clients with ABI return to meaningful work.
Pip has established a Buddy Program at IRS which provides informal peer-support, advice and guidance to new staff entering the community private-practice ABI rehabilitation setting.
Susan joined the IRS team in 2012 coming directly from Scotland where her extensive experience in psychiatric and neurological rehabilitation was gained from Elderly Psychiatry, Maximum Secure Psychiatric Hospital, Community Mental Health Team, and Community Treatment Centre for Brain Injury all based in Glasgow. Her particular area of interest is cognitive and behavioural impairment post ABI, and she enjoys working with clients to maintain employment or return to work. Susan loves community rehabilitation because completing therapeutic interventions in the person’s own home and local community has the highest likelihood of a being a success, therefore increasing the individual’s independence.
Susan is passionate about managing risk to optimise outcome and leads our risk management processes for both staff and clients. Susan has provided oral and poster presentations at several conferences based on her research into the use of Google Calendar to increase independence in survivors of traumatic brain injury. In her research coordinator role, Susan works with her colleagues to develop new research ideas and explore grant opportunities.
Emily completed her Occupational Therapy degree at La Trobe University in 2006. She commenced working in 2006 before moving to the United Kingdom to work in 2007 where she had a variety of positions in acute medical and neurological services, neurological rehabilitation and neurobehavioural rehabilitation.
Emily returned to Australia in 2011 where she worked in a neurobehavioural rehabilitation unit before joining Independent Rehabilitation Services in 2013. She has a particular interest in stroke and traumatic brain injury and working with clients with complex care needs.
Emily has recently returned from a period of maternity leave.
Hilary completed a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy/Behavioural Science in 2004. Since then she has worked in various fields of Occupational Therapy across Australia and the UK. Hilary has experience across the healthcare continuum including Emergency, Acute Care, Inpatient and Community Rehabilitation.
Hilary has a strong interest in rehabilitation for clients with Spinal Cord Injury and various neurological conditions including Acquired Brain Injury. Hilary’s interest in Spinal Cord Injury has developed from her time working at the National Spinal Injuries Centre in the UK and at the Victorian Spinal Cord Service in Australia.
Hilary enjoys working with complex cases and putting her organisational skills to work to increase one’s independence in activities of daily living.
Meaghan completed her occupational therapy degree in 2009 at Monash University. Since this time, she has worked in both Australia and the United Kingdom, working across acute, subacute and community settings. She has experience working with an array of conditions including stroke, trauma, musculoskeletal and orthopaedic and progressive neurological conditions such as MS and Parkinson’s Disease. She has a particular interest in neurological rehabilitation, upper limb therapy and cognitive rehabilitation.
Meaghan enjoys the client centred approach of community rehabilitation and the flexibility of working with clients in their own home to achieve occupational engagement in their life.
Sophie completed her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in 2010 from La Trobe University. She commenced her career at Epworth Rehabilitation and worked in all areas of rehabilitation from orthopaedics, neurological, pain management, cardiac, respiratory and general medicine. She then went to work in London where she worked in acute, rehabilitation and community. During this time she developed a special interest in neurological rehabilitation including, stroke, acquired brain injury and progressive neurological conditions. She enjoys the rewarding experience of client centred therapy, goal based intervention and seeing improvements in function and quality of life for her clients.
Shona qualified as an occupational therapist in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 2003. Shona worked in a variety of settings before moving to London, where she worked in the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery then Guys and St Thomas’ Community Neuro Rehabilitation Team. She lead the occupational therapy team there before managing the community inpatient neuro-rehabilitation unit. She relocated to Melbourne in 2017. Shona has particular experience and interest in working with people with acquired brain injuries and neurological conditions including motor neurone disease and Parkinson’s Disease. Shona has a passion for supporting people to achieve their personal goals to optimise their purpose and quality of life by supporting them to lead their own rehabilitation and empowering them to manage their own life.
Hayley graduated with a Masters of Occupational Therapy at La Trobe University in 2012. She has worked in a range of acute, sub-acute and community settings within both Australia and the United Kingdom. During this time, she has worked with a variety of clientele presenting with a wide range of diagnoses within the areas of aged care, orthopaedics, cardiac / respiratory, general medicine, pain management, trauma and neurology. Hayley has a passion for neurological rehabilitation, particularly within the community context. She believes that it’s rewarding assisting clients to attain and maintain maximum independence and participation in all aspects of life.
Sam graduated with a Bachelor of Health Sciences at Adelaide University in 2006 before completing his Masters in Occupational Therapy in 2009 at University of South Australia.
He began working in Adelaide in vocational rehabilitation and private community settings before moving to the UK in 2013 to work in a range of settings including acute medical, orthopaedics, acute neurological and neurological rehabilitation. He returned to Australia in 2015, moving to Melbourne and commenced work at a large private community organisation. Sam joined Independent Rehabilitation to pursue his passion for neurological rehabilitation.
Sam enjoys the challenges of neurological rehabilitation particularly in a community setting. He finds working with clients and their families to achieve their goals in their own environment particularly rewarding.
Chantal completed her Occupational Therapy degree at Monash University in 2010. She has since worked across a variety of healthcare settings including acute, sub-acute, community and vocational rehabilitation. This has provided Chantal the opportunity to work with an array of population groups such as acquired brain injury, traumatic orthopaedic injuries, geriatric evaluation and management, stroke, and persistent pain clients.
Chantal has developed a strong passion for Neurological Rehabilitation and enjoys the complexities, challenges and satisfaction working with this client group offers.
Chantal is currently on maternity leave and plans to return to work part-time in October of this year.
Nicole completed her Bachelor of Health Sciences and Master of Occupational Therapy Practice degrees in Melbourne in 2013. She has worked in the area of neurology across acute and inpatient rehabilitation settings, prior to transitioning into the community sector. This has enabled her to develop skills and knowledge in working with consumers at different stages of their journey. She has worked with people who have a variety of diagnoses, including traumatic brain injury, stroke and progressive neurological conditions. Nicole has special interests and experience in upper limb therapy, cognition, manual handling and perceptual dysfunction. She enjoys working with consumers to promote occupational participation to enhance quality of life.
Katie graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in 2010 and since this time has worked across a range of acute, in-patient rehab and community settings. In 2014 she moved to the United Kingdom where she worked within the NHS, with a focus on stroke and neurological rehabilitation.
Katie enjoys working in community neurological rehabilitation and having the opportunity to work collaboratively with clients on their goals in their own homes and communities.
Jess completed her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in New Zealand in 2015. Jess first found her passion within Neurological Rehabilitation when she had her final student placement at an Acquired Brain Injury Rehab Unit. Since graduating she has worked with a wide variety of clients in Acute, In-patient, Aged Care and Community settings. During this time she has developed a strong interest in stroke and traumatic brain injuries. Jess is holistic within her care and enjoys building strong therapeutic rapport with clients, and their support systems, to work towards meaningful goals. Jess has joined IRS to pursue her passion within Neurological Rehabilitation working with clients in their own environments.
Katie completed her Honours Degree in Occupational Therapy at Monash University in 2014. While at university, Katie worked as a Disability Support Worker and as a Research Assistant for the Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria. Since graduating, Katie has worked in numerous settings including inpatient rehabilitation, occupational rehabilitation, and non-profit organisations. Katie has developed a strong interest in working with people with brain injuries and intellectual disability. Katie enjoys working with people in real-life contexts towards goals that are important to them. Katie has experience working with vulnerable populations, for example long-term homeless people. She has special expertise in working with people with epilepsy.
I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2015 from the Australian Catholic University. I previously worked in the Occupational Rehabilitation setting which provided me with the skills to deliver a client centered and holistic approach to rehabilitation. With a focus on defence members, veterans and the TAC client population, I have worked with a wide range of complex client needs; including both physical and psychological conditions. I have developed a strong passion for working with people with a brain injury in the context of their natural environment. I thoroughly enjoy completing equipment prescriptions and home modification recommendations. Through my work I have developed a passion for fostering independence and facilitating client goal achievement. I enjoy that no two days are the same and that I can make a difference in an individual’s overall well-being in their natural environment.
Amanda graduated with a Bachelor in Health Science – Occupational Therapy degree in 2012 in New Zealand. She worked briefly in acute and community settings where she gained experience working with clients in an acute physical setting as well as in Community mental health. She moved to Australian 2013 where she worked in Occupational Rehabilitation Industry for over 4 years. As a Rehabilitation Consultant she assisted injured clients return to work, where she established a strong understanding of the impact of physical and psychological injuries on return to work and has worked under a variety of legislative framework which allowed her to guide and assist injured workers, their employers and health professionals through the rehabilitation process. She is passionate about working with clients from various backgrounds and their families on an individual level, and supporting them in achieving their chosen goals.
Aleksia graduated with an Honours degree in Occupational Therapy from Monash University in 2015. During her studies she worked as both a Disability Support Worker and Occupational Therapy Research Assistant. Since graduating, Aleksia has worked in community and inpatient rehabilitation with a variety of client populations, including people with both non-progressive and progressive neurological conditions. Aleksia has a strong passion for neurological rehabilitation and enjoys working with clients in their own contexts, towards their own goals. She enjoys the challenge of working with people with complex needs and using her expertise in motivational interviewing, various pain management techniques and cognitive rehabilitation to assist clients towards achieving their goals.
Annie completed her Occupational Therapy degree at the Australian Catholic University in 2017. During her studies, Annie worked as Disability Support Worker with clients who had diagnoses of Quadraplegia, Multiple Sclerosis and Cerebral Palsy in their home and community to support participation in everyday activities. Having completed a 9-week placement in inpatient rehabilitation, Annie consolidated her interest in Neurological Rehabilitation and is keen to start her career in a community based setting. Annie is confident in her ability to build positive and trusting relationship with her clients and their family and is most passionate about ensuring people are able to live a productive and fulfilling life regardless of their diagnosis.
Li Li completed his Occupational Therapy degree in Adelaide at the end of 2014 after relocating to Australia from China. Since 2015 he has worked at Multiple Sclerosis Limited providing employment support to enable people to continue to work, and supported workplace modifications and lifestyle change to maximise performance within the contains of degenerative neurologic conditions. Li has enjoyed being focused on the individual needs of each client and working with them to reach their goals through problem solving. Li has a passion for working in the neurological rehabilitation area so in 2019 will be commencing a Master of Rehabilitation (Neurological Occupational Therapy) degree to further develop his skills.
Alicia has recently graduated with her Master of Occupational Therapy qualification. Throughout her undergraduate and postgraduate studies she has worked with a range of clients in community, aged care and primary school settings. It was during Alicia’s community placements and volunteer work with spinal cord Injuries that her passion for neurological rehabilitation was established. She is excited to work collaboratively with clients to develop and achieve realistic and meaningful goals.
Ann-Maree graduated with a bachelor of Speech Pathology from La Trobe University. She has worked at a number of private acute, rehabilitation and community rehabilitation services around Melbourne. Ann-Maree is passionate about working with people with Traumatic Brain Injury and Disability and she enjoys the unique challenges of helping people to find their voices through augmentative and alternative communication solutions. She has completed her level two training in Community Based Rehabilitation for ABI and is LSVT certified.
Talia completed her Speech Pathology degree in 2010. Since graduating she has worked in both private and public health sectors across the continuum of care. This has given Talia a deep understanding and appreciation of the needs of clients and their significant others throughout their recovery and rehabilitation. Talia has discovered a passion for community rehabilitation, particularly in the fields of traumatic and acquired brain injury, and other neurological conditions (such as Parkinson’s Disease). She has completed her Level 1 and 2 Acquired Brain Injury Training, and is an LSVT qualified clinician. Talia finds working in this field extremely rewarding, and believes in communication access for all.
Talia has recently been successful in achieving the role of Deputy Speech Pathologist at IRS.
Amber completed her Speech Pathology degree at La Trobe University in 2006. She has worked for a number of major health services across Melbourne, primarily in Community Rehabilitation. She has always enjoyed working with clients and their carers/families in their own environment as she feels this allows them to focus on areas that are important to them.
She has more than 10 years experience working with clients with acquired brain injury with a special interest in working with people with aphasia and has spent time on the committee for the Australian Aphasia Association (Victorian Branch). She also has specialised experience in working with clients with Movement Disorders (e.g. Parkinson’s Disease) and accent modification.
Janie completed her Bachelor of Health Sciences / Master of Speech Pathology degree at La Trobe University in 2016.
Experience gained on university clinical placements, and employment in health administration in the hospital-based rehabilitation setting have fuelled Janie’s interest in progressive neurological disorders and acquired brain injury.
Janie is passionate about client-centred care, and supporting individuals to achieve their rehabilitation goals in order to maximise independence and participation in all aspects of daily life.
Matt completed his Master of Speech Pathology degree in 2017 at The University of Melbourne. He has gained placement experience working across the continuum of care in acute, rehabilitation and private practice settings. Matt has a background in psychology, and is particularly passionate about aphasia rehabilitation and working with clients with neurological disorders to achieve personally meaningful and functional goals. Matt takes a person-centred approach and is committed to providing holistic care to improve the quality of life of his clients within their natural environments.
Julie has a background in Health Promotion and extensive experience working with general practitioners and Allied Health providers to develop, implement and evaluate programs.
Julie has worked at WorkSafe Victoria, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), Networking Health Victoria and at various Medicare Locals. Her program management experience is diverse and includes programs about Diabetes Prevention, Palliative Care, Chronic Kidney Disease and the Health Benefits of Work. She enjoys engaging with stakeholders and community members to ensure positive outcomes and has co-authored the article “It takes more than a practice visit – effective general practice engagement” Australian Journal of Primary Health, in 2007.
Beck will help you with referrals and queries and is a vital link between the office and our staff on the road
Catherine has recently started with IRS as our Administrative Assistant; to support Beck with all things related to keeping IRS running smoothly and supporting our clinicians with whatever they need.
Welcome to the team Cath!