Advocacy Awareness Week case study
As part of our work to raise the profile of advocacy services during Advocacy Awareness Week 2021, we are pleased to share this case study based on a person we have recently supported, demonstrating how our person-centred approach that puts the needs of the individual at the heart of our work can make a real difference to people's lives
#AdvocacyinAction By Emer, YVC Advocate
I was allocated to work with AB as her Care Act advocate, she required a reassessment of her needs as her package of care was no longer meeting her needs (AB would say it never met her needs in the first place) and she had also suffered a heart attack since her last care package had been agreed, adding to the health problems she already had.
AB is dependent on a wheelchair. She is a car user but requires support to get in and out of her car. She is a single parent of two primary school aged children who spend weekends with her ex-partner. I met with her initially and talked through with her what support she needed to carry out day to day activities and parent her children. There were particular things like washing her hair (she has dreadlocks), taking her children to clubs and attending health appointments that she needed more support hours for.
Advocating for AB
When we met with the social worker for the needs assessment, the social worker was clear that the local authority would not fund AB to get her hair washed, this needed to part of the personal care hours but the social worker could not recommend increasing the personal care hours to allow AB to get her hair washed. As we explored this issue the fact that it would take two hours to get her hair washed due to it being in dreadlocks became the issue. AB and I pointed out that anyone needing support to wash their hair gets the support and just because others have hair styles that can be washed more quickly does not mean AB should not receive the support she needs to wash hers.
The social worker also felt that AB could shop more efficiently online and needed to do this so less support hours would be necessary. AB and I put forward that she can get more value for money at local markets and discount shops that do not have online services and that online grocery shopping does not afford her the choice of Caribbean foods that she wants and likes to eat and are familiar to her given her heritage.
Similarly, attending health appointments was dismissed due to the availability of ambulance transport meaning the local authority would not fund any support hours to get her to health appointments. We pointed out that as a parent the ambulance transport is not viable as you have no control over when you are picked up and dropped off and she needs to take her children to school and pick them up at certain times and does not have family support for this.
The value of advocacy
After negotiation with the social worker to recommend a package of support including the above hours and feedback from the panel initially resisting our arguments, they agreed a much bigger package of care which included support hours for hair washing once a week, shopping locally and hours for AB to attend clubs for fitness and to take her children to clubs.
AB said she felt able to put her points of view across to the social worker as I was there supporting her and defending her right to get the support hours she desperately needs to live her life.
Visit www.ndti.org.uk to find out more about Advocacy Awareness Week.