A week in the life of a Your Voice Counts advocate
Our advocates are trained specialists who provide a range of advocacy services, including Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy, Independent Mental Health Advocacy, Independent Care Act Advocacy and a Paid Relevant Person’s Representative service.
Our roles are varied and challenging but we are proud of the service we provide and the difference we make to people who need us. Here are some highlights from one YVC advocate’s week to show #AdvocacyinAction during #AAW22.
Some highlights from my week
Monday: I travel to the General Hospital to meet a patient who has been referred to our Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy service. A ‘do not resuscitate’ decision is being made about this patient so I speak with staff to get the background. I then meet with the patient to get to know them and we have a good conversation about their personal life and the reason they’re in hospital. After this I speak to their doctor to put forward points from the conversation and my observation of the patient.
I work from home for the rest of the day, taking part in an online peer and practice session with the other YVC advocates – this is a regular meeting that gives us a chance to share best practice and learning and discuss any of our cases that we feel we need some advice about.
Tuesday: It’s a desk day today and I spend time catching up on admin and planning. I make a call to the manager of the supported accommodation one of my clients lives in to try to learn more about this person and discover that the accommodation manager has a list of family contacts for the person. This is really valuable information because this person is subject to a Deprivation of Liberty Order and currently has no family member supporting them so I get in touch with the person’s social worker to pass this information on.
While I’m in the office I meet with a new colleague who has recently joined our team. We have a chat and I pass on some of my knowledge of some Relevant Person’s Representative cases that have been transferred to her and we book in some time for her to shadow some of my client visits.
I also have a quick catch-up with our admin team who are the first point of contact for new referrals to our service and are responsible for triaging cases to us.
Wednesday: The day starts with a catch up with our new Advocacy Practice Manager Ann-Marie. We discuss my cases and anything I need some extra support with.
I then travel to a discharge planning meeting in the role of Independent Mental Health Advocate. This is a complicated case – the person has high needs and a number of mental health problems so I call a colleague on the way to have a quick chat about the case and get some advice on how to approach the meeting.
I speak to the client in advance of the meeting and observe she is anxious about the meeting and struggling to engage with my support but she shares that she is happy when living in the community with her pets. At the discharge planning meeting I convey this information on her behalf and a plan is made for how she can be discharged in a way that takes these wishes into account.
Thursday: It’s another hospital visit as I have an appointment with a person we are providing Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy for – when I get there he is asleep and non-responsive due to complications of sepsis so I speak with his clinical team about his care plan and learn that end-of-life care is being considered. I have a meeting with the doctor responsible for this decision, sharing my knowledge of his wishes, and agreeing to contact the hospital again the following day for an update.
Friday: I end the week with another office day. I call the hospital as agreed and am pleased to hear the patient has responded to treatment and is expected to make a full recovery. I make a note to follow this up when the patient is feeling better so we can get a clear understanding of his wishes should that situation arise again.
I end the week by writing up some notes and following up some emails to social workers, health care professionals and colleagues to make sure I’m on top of things ready for the new week ahead.