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Katrina Maher - Life after Service – What now?

Katrina Maher and two boys standing in shallow water at a beach.Life after service – what now?

I enlisted as a Clerk in the RAAF in 1993, unfortunately a few years later I sustained an injury on a training exercise.  A knee reconstruction left me with post-operative complications and resulted in the difficult decision to transition out of the ADF in 2009.

Although I was experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort, being a busy mum with two young children and married to a current service member in the Army, making the decision to undergo further treatment was difficult. I wondered how I could possibly balance my family responsibilities with a lengthy recovery?

Taking the first step

Contacting DVA made a difference.  I found out I was entitled to a whole range of services that gave me hope about planning for my future.  After years of working up the courage to have the corrective surgery I finally had the confidence to undergo my second knee reconstruction in 2007, which was funded by DVA.

Rehabilitation was long and difficult, particularly when my husband was deployed to East Timor – still, friends and family helped me stay positive.  Thankfully my DVA rehabilitation plan also meant I was entitled to household assistance to ease the burden.

Vocational assistance

DVA also worked with me during my recovery to help me retrain.  Taking into account my prior service employment and restricted mobility, DVA provided funding to enable me to undertake an online Certificate IV in Human Resources.

In October 2010 with DVA’s vocational assistance, I transitioned back into the workforce by taking on a part-time position with the Northern Territory Housing. Three months later I was back working full-time in a new career with the Department of Defence as a Medical Receptionist.

Person-centred planning

The road back to independence has been long and hard but well worth it.  DVA has worked with me every step of the way to help me realise my goals by offering flexible service personally tailored to meet my needs.  The staff have been helpful and friendly and their service, advice and processes have been excellent.

The future…

I absolutely love my new career.  I have a greater sense of wellbeing and feel more in control of my future.  I also know that if I need further assistance down the track, DVA will be there to help me.

If you have a successful rehabilitation outcome and you wish to share your story, please contact us.

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