3D Printed Orthotics for Refugees

Published in November 2018

Northcott Innovation is currently collaborating with Refugee Health NSW and Northcott, by creating 3D AFOs (ankle foot orthotics) for children with disability who have recently come to Australia as a refugee. The digitally fabricated ankle foot orthotics project (AFOs) is a leading edge technology, cutting the time between assessment and fitting as well as the cost compared to traditional AFOs.

Who is Refugee NSW?

Refugee Health NSW aims to protect and support the health of refugees and asylum seekers. Among their clinical programs, the Refugee Health NSW program offers health assessments for newly arrived refugees settling in the Sydney metropolitan region.

Some refugees arrive in Australia with pre-existing disabilities. More often than not, such individuals have had inadequate or no therapy prior to their arrival in Australia. War and conflict have severely disrupted health systems in their countries of origin, and aids and appliances to support their activities of daily living and long term rehabilitation are generally unavailable.

Refugee children require formal assessment and diagnosis after they arrive to enable access to NDIS. In our experience the waiting times for NDIS plans, and then for receiving actual services, is lengthy.


Seamless Referral Process

First step is the child and its appropriate support system will access the Refugee NSW medical practitioner who would assess whether the child would benefit from an AFO. If the practitioner does assess the child to require an AFO, the referral form will then be directed to Northcott Innovation, who will work alongside the Northcott NES team to book the child for the assessment and fitting of a 3D printed AFO.


Dani’s Story

Dani is a 7-year-old boy of refugee Iraqi background, who has been in Australia since 2017. Dani, who has recently been diagnosed with Spina Bifida, came through as a referral from Refugee NSW, needing orthotics for both legs.

For some children this is the first opportunity they have ever had to be fitted with any device, and it greatly assists their mobility and earlier participation in their new communities. There is no other service in NSW that offers this speedy and innovative solution.

Northcott Innovation was able to create multilingual videos (Watch them here) to assist parents with the ongoing care of these devices. This is best practice when dealing with families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and supports the parents in caring for their children.


Support this project

To find out how to support this project, contact us info@northcottinnovation.com.au

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