What is Mandy's situation?
Mandy is 45 years old and has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mandy lives with her partner. She has a goal in her plan to do her grocery shopping on her own. Mandy can’t leave the house on her own, and relies on a support worker, her husband or a friend to be with her. She wants an assistance animal so she can leave the house on her own.
After receiving a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from a psychiatrist, Mandy has been seeing a psychologist. She has achieved some goals, but she hasn’t been able to go out on her own. Mandy still needs help from another person to leave the house.
What information and evidence do we need to make our decision?
The type of information and evidence we look at to make our decision includes:
- information we already know about Mandy
- evidence of Mandy’s disability and how it impacts her daily life
- new information we’re given
- assessments and reports
- the assistance animal assessment template (DOCX 65KB) filled out by Mandy’s psychologist and assistance animal provider.
What information and evidence did we get?
The information and evidence we got tells us:
- Mandy has a goal in her plan to do her grocery shopping on her own
- how often Mandy leaves the house with and without any supports
- Mandy has shown she can take good care of an assistance animal, as she used to have a pet dog at home which she trained from a puppy
- detail about other supports Mandy tried to meet her goals and support needs
- Mandy has trialled clinical and community mental health supports. Her PTSD is stable and she has completed all clinical treatments
- the tasks the assistance animal will do, including standing between her and other people and nudging her when she is getting anxious
- Mandy had a 2 week trial with a fully trained and qualified assistance animal, a dog
- during the trial Mandy was able to do her grocery shopping on her own with the dog. The dog stood between Mandy and other people so she could focus and do her grocery shopping. It also helped her when she started to panic by nudging her, to remind her to stay focussed on the task she was doing
- Mandy currently has 15 hours of support worker help a week to go out in the community
- help from Mandy’s support worker will be reduced to 3 hours a week if she gets an assistance animal
- the assistance animal provider has been to Mandy’s home and assessed it as suitable
- Mandy has been receiving cognitive behaviour therapy with her psychologist for 2 years and has taken part in graded exposure therapy. Graded exposure therapy is a type of behaviour therapy that helps you manage your fears by trying to break the pattern of avoidance and fear. The graded exposure therapy has helped Mandy to go to a local cafe on her own, but she has not been able to do the grocery shopping on her own using these forms of therapy.
What decision did we make and why?
Based on Mandy’s situation we decided to fund an assistance animal as it met all of the criteria. Our reasons are:
- The assistance animal was seen as effective and beneficial because the trial with the dog showed that, with its help, Mandy could do her grocery shopping on her own. There is clear evidence the assistance animal did 3 tasks that helped Mandy successfully do her shopping.
- The assistance animal was seen as value for money. Other supports were looked at or trialled and the dog was found to be the most cost effective compared to other options for supporting Mandy. The evidence shows that the dog would reduce Mandy’s need for a support worker from 15 hours per week to 3 hours per week. This will reduce other funding in Mandy’s plan over the long term so it’s a cost effective support to help her pursue her goals. Therefore, the dog was considered value for money taking into account the benefits achieved and the cost of other supports.