Our People

Our staff are our best asset.

We employ over 45 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.

Our Leadership Team

Kate Phillips, Physiotherapist, Practice Principal
Natalie Pribil, Occupational Therapist, Allied Health Leader
Alex Scott, Physiotherapist, Team Leader
Emma Downey, Physiotherapy, Deputy Team Leader & Clinical Mentor
Amy Jesse, Occupational Therapist, Team Leader
Pip Cape, Occupational Therapist, Deputy Team Leader
Ann-Maree Ng, Speech Pathologist, Team Leader
Talia Lipschitz, Speech Pathologist, Deputy Team Leader
Julie Sutherland, Quality Assurance Leader

Physiotherapy Team

Libby BussauPhysiotherapist, Senior Clinician
Danni GouldPhysiotherapist, Senior Clinician
Amy NevePhysiotherapist
Nadia Larsen, Physiotherapist
Isabelle Tivey, Physiotherapist
Melanie Henry, Physiotherapist
Julie Nguyen, Physiotherapist
Sahba Dehghani, Physiotherapist
James Morley, Physiotherapist
Anna Karlik, Physiotherapist
Stephanie Ng, Physiotherapist

Occupational Therapy Team

Susan PetrieOccupational Therapist, Senior Clinician, Research Coordinator
Emily Lalor, Occupational Therapist, Senior Clinician, Clinical Mentor
Hilary Smith, Occupational Therapist, Senior Clinician
Melissa Bennett, Occupational Therapist, Senior Clinician, OT Driving Assessor, Clinical Mentor
Sam LawlessOccupational Therapist, OT Driving Assessor
Meaghan RennisonOccupational Therapist
Sophie PhareOccupational Therapist
Shona Rudland, Occupational Therapist
Kate Thomson, Occupational Therapist
Chantal Thompson, Occupational Therapist
Nicole PendreyOccupational Therapist
Katie Dawe, Occupational Therapist
Blaine Francis, Occupational Therapist
Shimila Drysdale, Occupational Therapist
Hayley Krusche, Occupational Therapist
Jess MayOccupational Therapist
Katie HallOccupational Therapist 
Tanya BelicOccupational Therapist
Amanda NcubeOccupational Therapist 
Aleksia Jensen, Occupational Therapist
Georgia Riley, Occupational Therapist
Shannon Rothschild, Occupational Therapist
Alicia Hutchinson, Occupational Therapist
Maddie Munn, Occupational Therapist / Intake Coordinator

Speech Pathology Team

Amber Burnham, Speech Pathologist, Clinical Mentor
Janie Sargeant, Speech Pathologist
Matt Fong, Speech Pathologist

Office Team

Beck JoycePractice Accounts and Administrative Manager
Tash Van Groenedaal, Administrative Assistant
Maddie MunnIntake coordinator / Occupational Therapist



Full staff profiles can be seen below.


Kate Phillips Physiotherapist, Practice Principal

Kate founded Independent Rehabilitation Services (IRS) 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.

Outside of work, Kate loves spending time with her family, walking her dog along the beach, gardening and baking.

IRS will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary in September 2019.

kphillips@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Natalie Pribil, Occupational Therapist, Allied Health Leader

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.

Outside of work, Natalie enjoys spending time with her family, running and taking on new challenges. She has recently started playing cricket and coaching her daughter’s AFL team .

Natalie will be celebrating 14 years with IRS in 2019.

npribil@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Alex Scott, Physiotherapy Team Leader

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.

Alex was appointed Physiotherapy Team Leader at the end of 2018.

Outside of work Alex loves hiking in nature, cooking for loved ones and sipping black coffee with a good book.

ascott@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Emma Downey, Physiotherapy Deputy Team Leader & Clinical Mentor

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 breadth 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.

Emma was appointed Physiotherapy Deputy Team Leader at the end of 2018.

Outside of work Emma loves getting back to nature, going for hikes, to the beach or going skiing in winter.

edowney@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Libby Bussau, Physiotherapist, Senior Clinician

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.

Libby will celebrate 14 years with IRS in 2019.

lbussau@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Danni Gould, Physiotherapist, Senior Clinician

Danni qualified as a physiotherapist in 2011. Since graduating Danni has worked in a diverse range of settings in Tasmania, the UK and Melbourne. She has developed a passion for working in neurological rehabilitation and has completed additional training in the Bobath method. Danni loves a challenge as well as having as much fun as possible in therapy with her clients.

Outside of work, Danni is a keen runner, reader and travel enthusiast.

Danni returned to IRS full-time in March 2019.

dgould@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Nadia Larsen, Physiotherapist

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.

Outside of work Nadia loves playing sport, swimming and spending time with friends and family.

nlarsen@independent-rehab.com.au

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Amy Neve, Physiotherapist

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’.

Outside of work , Amy loves to spend time with her 3 boys, running with her dogs, and gardening.

Amy has recently returned from maternity leave.

aneve@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Isabelle Tivey, Physiotherapist

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.

Outside of work, Izzy loves doing all things aerial sports: pole, aerial hoop and aerial silks. When she’s not climbing things and hanging upside-down, she can be found tucked up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book or a puzzle.

itivey@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Melanie Henry, Physiotherapist

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.

Outside of work Mel enjoys day/overnight hikes, cooking for others, yoga and hockey (weekend warrior style).

mhenry@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Julie Nguyen, Physiotherapist

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.

Outside of work, Julie enjoys hikes, picnics and Pilates.

jnguyen@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Sahba Dehghani, Physiotherapist

Sahba is an enthusiastic and diligent clinician with a Doctor of Physiotherapy from 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, 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.

Outside of work, Sahba loves reading, theatre, singing, working on craft projects, and volunteering for social justice.

sdehghani@independent-rehab.com.au 

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James Morley, Physiotherapist

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.

Outside of work, James loves heading out on overnight hikes, mountain biking and playing cricket.

jmorley@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Anna Karlik, Physiotherapist

Anna graduated as a physiotherapist from The University of Melbourne in 2018. During her studies she worked with a range of neurological clients across all settings, including here at IRS. These experiences allowed her to discover her passion for treating clients with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. She has also developed her skills and knowledge in stroke recovery through her involvement with a local stroke support group, enhancing her understanding of the complex road to recovery for these individuals. Anna has had experience within the pain clinic, developing her understanding of the complex nature of chronic pain management.

Outside of work, she enjoys playing tennis and going to the beach with her two cavoodles.

akarlik@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Stephanie Ng, Physiotherapist

Stephanie recently graduated from University of Melbourne in 2018. During the course, she has had the opportunities to experience a range of healthcare settings, including spinal cord injuries and stroke rehabilitation. Outside of study, she has also developed a passion for working with people with Parkinson’s while volunteering with Dancing with Parkinson’s. She has also worked as an Allied Health Assistant in the paediatric area during her degree, incorporating play through therapy.  She believes that Physiotherapy works best when it is enjoyable for the clients.

Outside of work Stephanie enjoys baking, putting on musicals, dancing and travelling.

sng@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Amy Jesse, Occupational Therapy Team Leader

Amy completed her Occupational Therapy degree at La Trobe University in 1998. She completed a post graduate subject in Neurological Rehabilitation in 2002. She is also AMPS (Assessment of Motor and Process skills) trained.

Amy has always worked in the area of neurology, across the full continuum of care. She has worked in numerous locations in Australia and the UK including Royal Talbot Hospital, Melbourne and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London.

Amy commenced working with IRS in 2011, and was successful in being appointed OT Team Leader in 2016.

In addition to working with those recovering from Acquired Brain Injury, Amy has a special interest in progressive neurological conditions including Ataxia, Multiple Sclerosis and Motor Neurone Disease. Amy also enjoys the highly client-centred and goal focused approach to community based rehabilitation.

Outside of work, Amy enjoys going to the beach, skiing, running, spending time with her friends and family, especially keeping up with her two young children!

Amy recently celebrated 7 years with IRS.

ajesse@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Pip Cape, Deputy Occupational Therapy Team Leader

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.

Outside of work Pip enjoys walking her dog each evening, weekends away hiking and baking.

pcape@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Susan Petrie, Occupational Therapist, Senior Clinician, Research Co-Ordinator

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.

Outside of work, Susan enjoys spending time with her family, watching motorsport and trying her hand at photography.

Susan recently celebrated 7 years with IRS.

spetrie@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Emily Lalor, Occupational Therapist, Senior Clinician

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 celebrated 5 years with IRS in 2018 and is currently on maternity leave.

elalor@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Hilary Smith, Occupational Therapist, Senior Clinician

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.

Outside of work Hilary likes going on outings with her family including her young kids, exercising, catching up with friends and getting some sunshine.

hsmith@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Melissa Bennett, Senior Clinician, Driving Assessor, Clinical Mentor

Melissa has recently returned to IRS. We are delighted to have Mel return to us given she initially commenced with IRS in 2005. She has spent the last eighteen months working in community health and now wishes to return to IRS. Mel will be working with us in a part-time capacity.

mbennett@independent-rehab.com.au

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Sam Lawless, Occupational Therapist, Driving Assessor

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.

Sam has recently completed the OT Driving Assessor Course and will commence conducting  OT driving assessments in 2019.

Outside of work, Sam loves heading to the beach, travelling and spending time with friends and family.

slawless@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Meaghan Rennison, Occupational Therapist

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.

Outside of work Meaghan enjoys playing netball and futsal and getting outdoors with family and friends.

mrennison@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Sophie Phare, Occupational Therapist

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.

Outside of work, Sophie loves to spend time with her family and friends, and enjoys getting out of Melbourne for the weekend to the beach or the bush.

sphare@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Shona Rudland, Occupational Therapist

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.

Outside of work Shona loves spending time with her family, running and breathing fresh countryside air!

srudland@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Kate Thomson, Occupational Therapist

Kate completed her degree in Edinburgh in 2002. Since then she has worked in a variety of settings, the majority of which have been community rehabilitation. In the last 5 years Kate has focussed her intervention on supporting those with neurological conditions. She has been involved in setting up a pilot clinic focussing on wheelchair skills and community access, and assisting with the development of a postural management pathway in Edinburgh. Since relocating to Australia in 2017 she has continued to work in community rehabilitation, and recently completed an upper limb rehabilitation course. Kate is a passionate advocate for her clients, supporting them to work on their goals, and encouraging self-management.

Outside of work Kate enjoys travelling, spending time with her husband and daughter and watching soccer.

kthomson@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Chantal Thompson, Occupational Therapist

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.

Outside of work Chantal loves spending time with her family and friends and just being outdoors enjoying the sunshine.

Chantal has recently returned to work following a period of maternity leave.

cthompson@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Nicole Pendrey, Occupational Therapist

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.

Outside of work Nicole loves spending time with her friends and family, especially her nephews and niece, including going out for brunch.

npendrey@independent-rehab.com.au

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Katie Dawe, Occupational Therapist

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.

kdawe@independent-rehab.com.au

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Blaine Francis, Occupational Therapist

Blaine completed his undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Occupational Therapy at Latrobe University, Melbourne in 2013. He went on to complete 2 years in the Alfred Health graduated program in which he fulfilled roles in acute inpatient and community mental health. Blaine has always had a keen interest in physical rehabilitation spending the past 2 years in a community role’s specialised in treating stroke, traumatic brain injury and progressive disorders. Blaine is a firm believer of supporting clients within their natural environment and prides himself on having individualised approaches to building client rapport. Areas of special interest included upper limb rehabilitation and postural management. Blaine’s primary goal is to assist clients in returning to functional meaningful activities. Outside of work Blaine enjoys the gym, traveling and time with family.

bfrancis@independent-rehab.com.au

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Shimila Drysdale, Occupational Therapist

Shimila completed her studies in Occupational Therapy in Geelong in 2010. She has worked in Sydney, Melbourne and various locations in the UK. Areas of work have included return to work, hospital based acute and inpatient rehabilitation, and community rehabilitation. Shimila enjoys working with people who have a neurological presentation, and particularly providing cognitive rehabilitation. She is passionate about empowering her clients to achieve their goals. Shimila approaches her work holistically and understands the importance of creative problem solving when working with complex patient presentations. Shimila is also studying professional writing. She intends to use her writing skills in the future, to assist in completing research relating to neurological rehabilitation.

Outside of work Shimila enjoys playing squash, lazy brunches with friends in the sunshine and getting lost in a thrilling novel!

sdrysdale@independent-rehab.com.au

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Hayley Krusche, Occupational Therapist

Hayley completed her Occupational Therapy degree at La Trobe University in 2012.

Following this, she has worked across a variety of acute, sub-acute and community settings in both Australia and the UK, with clients presenting with (but not limited to) orthopaedic, neurological, trauma, respiratory, cardiac, pain management, pulmonary and general rehabilitation conditions.

Hayley presents with strong interests in the areas of stroke rehabilitation, upper limb rehabilitation, cognitive rehabilitation, major home modifications, spinal cord injury rehabilitation and working with clients with progressive neurological conditions (i.e. MS, MND, Parkinson’s, etc).

Outside of work, Hayley loves to travel, go out for coffee/brunch and spend time with family and friends.

hkrusche@independent-rehab.com.au

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Jess May, Occupational Therapist

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.

Outside of work, Jess loves to do anything in the outdoors, grabbing a coffee with friends and yoga.

jmay@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Katie Hall, Occupational Therapist

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.

Outside of work, I enjoy being outdoors, reading a good book, or traveling with my hubby.

khall@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Tanya Belic, Occupational Therapist

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.

Outside of work Tanya enjoys spending time with her family, engaging in reformer pilates, going away on weekends and strolling markets.

tbelic@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Amanda Ncube, Occupational Therapist

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.

Outside of work Amanda enjoys listening to 80s and 90s music, reading Australian Outback books and spending time with her family.

ancube@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Aleksia Jensen, Occupational Therapist

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, assistive technology/home modifications, various pain management techniques and cognitive rehabilitation to assist clients towards achieving their goals.

Outside of work, Aleksia enjoys exercising, being creative, spending time with family/friends and playing with her cat.

ajensen@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Georgia Riley, Occupational Therapist

Georgia completed her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at the Australian Catholic University in 2018. She has a keen interest in spinal cord injury following her 9 week placement with the Victorian Spinal Cord Service (VSCS). Georgia has also had placements in acute rehabilitation and aged care. She is excited to begin her career in community rehabilitation and greatly values the opportunity to help others to achieve their goals.

Outside of work Georgia likes catching up with friends, running and going for brunch.

griley@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Shannon Rothschild, Occupational Therapist

Shannon recently completed her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) at Monash University. During her studies, Shannon completed placements in a Forensic Mental Health setting and Community Mental Health. She also worked at Epworth as an Allied Health Assistant working with individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury for two years. These experiences sparked her interest in working with clients with Neurological conditions. Shannon has a compassionate approach towards clients and their families and enjoys being creative in response to complex and challenging situations.

Outside of work, Shannon enjoys spending time with her new nephew, maintaining her garden and cooking with housemates.

srothschild@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Alicia Hutchinson, Occupational Therapist

Alicia graduated midway through last year with her Master of Occupational Therapy qualification.  Throughout her undergraduate and postgraduate studies she has worked with a range of clients in the 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.

Outside of work, Alicia loves being active outdoors, eating delicious food from around the world and spending time with family and friends.

ahutchinson@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Maddie Munn, Occupational Therapist / Intake Coordinator

Maddie completed her Master of Occupational Therapy in Melbourne in 2019. Previously, Maddie completed her undergraduate degree in psychology in 2014. During her undergraduate, she received awards for her work with adolescents experiencing mental illness, including the Student Services Achievement Award, Boroondara Chances Scholarship, and People with a Disability Leadership Scholarship Award. After her undergraduate degree, Maddie worked in the community as a peer support worker and at Austin Hospital as a consumer consultant. Maddie’s interest in neurological conditions has come from personal experience of family members experiencing such conditions. She has worked in the community as a therapy assistant for clients with acquired brain injuries, and had an extended placement at Epworth Hospital in the neurological rehab unit. Outside of work, Maddie loves to spend time with her family (especially her cats), cook, and read sci-fi books.

mmunn@independent-rehab.com.au

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Ann-Maree Ng, Speech Pathology Team Leader

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.

Outside of work, Ann-Maree likes to catch up with family and friends, read and make and eat delicious food.

ang@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Talia Lipschitz, Deputy Speech Pathology Team Leader

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.

Outside of work Talia enjoys going to the gym, and baking delicious cakes – a healthy balance!

tlipschitz@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Amber Burnham, Speech Pathologist, Clinical Mentor

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.

Outside of work, Amber loves hanging out with her young family and enjoying the local beaches and parks.

aburnham@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Janie Sargeant, Speech Pathologist

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-centered care, and supporting individuals to achieve their rehabilitation goals in order to maximise independence and participation in all aspects of daily life.

Outside of work, Janie enjoys spending time with family and friends, seeing live music, soaking up the sunshine whenever possible, and has a love for art and design.

jsargeant@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Matt Fong, Speech Pathologist

Matt completed his Master of Speech Pathology degree in 2017 at The University of Melbourne. He 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 community.

Outside of work, Matt is a tragic AFL and cricket fan and loves supporting the Western Bulldogs. On the weekends, he is usually watching/playing/training for some sort of sport and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

mfong@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Julie Sutherland, Referral Relationship Manager

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.

When Julie is not at work you might find her exercising outside, pottering in the veggie garden, catching up with friends or indulging in coffee, cake or chocolate.

jsutherland@independent-rehab.com.au 

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Beck Joyce, Practice Accounts and Administrative Manager

Beck is our Practice Accounts and Administrative Manager. Beck started with us in 2015 and is skilled at running the IRS office like clockwork. She is our superglue!

rjoyce@independent-rehab.com.au

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Tash Van Groenedaal, Practice Administrative Assistant

Tash has recently commenced with IRS as our full-time administrative assistant. Tash will be the person you’re most likely to speak to when you contact us.

Tash will help you with referrals and queries and is a vital link between the office and our staff on the road.

admin@independent-rehab.com.au

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