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Advocacy Matters

We provide independent and statutory advocacy to vulnerable adults and older people. This involves supporting individuals to have their voice heard & exercise their rights on an individual and collective basis. We work with an increasing amount of older people with dementia as not all older people fall within the remit of statutory advocacy. We are passionate about championing the rights of those who require support to speak up to improve their daily lives.

25 February 2014
West Midlands
Care, Voluntary Sector
Local Alliances:
Birmingham Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Advocacy Matters provides one to one support to older people with dementia to ensure their voice is heard in accomodation, social care, leisure, health and well being decisions. Our role in providing better outcomes is as follows: Being protected from abuse – safeguarding the individual, preventing over protection & supporting them to take risks if they choose to. Combating discrimination – supporting the individual if they have been subjected to any form of discrimination; challenging organisations & providing appropriate training. Obtaining & changing services – enabling the individual to obtain services to which they are entitled and to change them if more appropriate services could be made available that better suit their needs. Securing & exercising rights – working with the individual, championing their substantive & procedural rights of citizenship. Being involved in decision making – ensuing and supporting involvement of individual in the recognition of their day to day preferences and activities (including cultural and religious needs). We provide training to other third sector organisations on human rights, United Nations Principles for Older People, good communication skills and the role of advocacy in improving outcomes. Ensuring the right support that takes into account personal preference & life experience has proven benefits for the individual & their carer.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

Providing appropriate & up to date training (and refresher training) to staff and volunteers Combating local authority funding cuts when working to secure appropriate social care & social interaction for older people with dementia Lack of understanding within the settings people live in with regards to communication needs and positive activities that individuals with dementia require Lack of understanding about the role of independent advocacy outside the statutory advocacy setting (that consent is not a ‘all or nothing’ concept)

2. Actions

  • Staff & volunteer training

    We will work with the Birmingham Dementia Action Alliance to ensure appropriate training is sourced for staff and volunteers. To be delivered by June 2014. We will nominate two Dementia champions to ensure that positive practice in relation to individuals with dementia is discussed at each team meeting & linked to reflective learning and the training received. 

  • Improved Partnership Working

    We will become active members of the Birmingham Dementia Action Alliance and attend all meetings/events. We will also promote our involvement to other organisations we work with to raise awareness of Dementia Friendly communities and include information on our marketing literature, advocacy partner packs and on our accessible website.

  • Developing case studies

    Via the aforementioned Dementia Champions, we will collate good practice from our advocacy staff and volunteers to utilise for case studies of how outcomes have been improved for individuals with dementia. We will, with permission, include these case studies in our marketing materials and share them on our website. They will include details about interactions utilised that led to improved outcomes & include multiple perspectives (social care professional, advocates, individual and carer &/or circle of support). 

    Case study
  • Promoting Advocacy for People with Dementia

    We are planning a campaign that promotes why advocacy is essential for vulnerable adults, adults with disabilities and older people (particularly those with dementia). This will be a series of posters, video stories that we share with carers organisations, third sector organisations, public sector professionals and other private sector organisations.