STARS patient Ben celebrates Christmas at home in Barcaldine

Ben Chandler pictured with family members

STARS patient Ben, his wife Jayde, and their four children had a very special Christmas together thanks to the teams at STARS and Central West Hospital and Health Service.

In March 2023, Ben was herding cattle on his family cattle property Gregory Park, near Barcaldine, when he was involved in a serious motorbike accident. He suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and multiple complex facial fractures and was flown to Brisbane with the support of CareFlight. Ben spent three months at RBWH Acute Care, including one month in ICU before being transferred to STARS to begin his extensive rehabilitation.

Ben’s wife Jayde and their four children all relocated to Brisbane for the duration of his rehabilitation to provide their support, with the children attending local schools.

At the start of his rehabilitation journey at STARS Ben was unable to consistently engage with others or the world around him. He faced significant challenges including dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), cognitive communication impairments, as well as being unable to walk.

Thanks to the wonderful STARS team, Ben’s hard work and determination, and his supportive family and community, Ben was able to reach a stage in his recovery where he could return to Barcaldine.

Ben’s feeding tube was removed, he was able to take several steps with support, and his communication improved greatly. Ben could engage in conversations with support, comprehend others, laugh at jokes, interact with his family and participate in family activities.

The transition back to home has faced a number of obstacles, including the complex nature of the rural and remote location.

Bette-Anne, Clinical Nurse Consultant STARS Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit, escorted Ben back to Barcaldine to ensure his safe arrival and ongoing care.

“The team at STARS and Barcaldine Hospital pulled out all the stops to be able to get Ben to return home for Christmas. It was a truly collaborative effort,” she said.

“It’s been a joy to see how happy the plan to go home made him and his entire family. Staff were very emotional about Ben’s
departure as after all these months with us he has become part of our work family.”

It is wonderful to see Ben and his whole family finally being able to return home to Gregory Park and the country life they all love.

Ben was initially transferred to Barcaldine Hospital until full time carers and therapists can be finalised and modifications made to the family home. The local community has also raised over $105,000 via a Gofundme campaign to purchase a modified vehicle to transport Ben around.

Ben spent Christmas Day celebrating with Jayde, their children, and extended family at Ben’s parent’s property where the event is traditionally hosted.

2024-01-30T10:26:25+10:0023 January 2024|
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