Community Advocacy

What the person’s situation before working with Advocacy Focus?

George is a 33-year-old gentleman who lives at home with his mother. George has a learning disability in addition to mental and physical health needs. George described himself as socially isolated, spending most of his time alone on his laptop. George independently contacted the local authority for support and an advocate was recommended to help George to navigate services and find appropriate support.

What did you do to help the person?

A Community Advocate discussed with George what his needs were and what services might be available to him. George requested support to access his GP, as he had not felt listened to before and wanted help to see if more support might be available to him.

The Community Advocate met with George at his GP practice prior to his appointment and helped George to put together a written plan around how he was going to communicate with his GP. This allowed George to remain independent, with the knowledge of support available and written notes for reflection. The appointment led to investigations of George’s physical health being done. What George and his GP agreed would happen next was documented by the Community Advocate to enable George to refer to.

George’s Community Advocate made a follow up phone call to him, and they discussed George needing some support around his mental health. Another GP appointment was made by George and his Community Advocate supported him with this.

The GP advised George that he was not entitled to support from the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), as he is not in crisis, and suggested he refer himself for counselling via Immediate Access Psychological Therapy (IAPT). George was able to voice that he does not wish to speak to anyone and spoke of the specific help he wanted with the help of his Advocate.  George’s GP suggested an increase in medication and a follow up appointment with a Mental Health Practitioner. George agreed to this. The GP then looked at previous notes from 2 years ago showing that George was supported by the CMHT with a discharge plan, including a follow up by the Learning Disability Team for assessment for a Support Worker. George informed his GP that this was not completed. George’s Community Advocate agreed to ring the Learning Disability Team, whereby an outcome could then be shared with the Mental Health Practitioner. Our Advocate wrote again to George to summarise what had happened and what work remained to be completed.

What was the outcome?

Support remains on-going with George’s Community Advocate continuing to try to contact the Learning Disability Team. George is awaiting an appointment with the Wellbeing Team for an assessment. The Community Advocate will continue to work with George to support him to gain the outcome he wants. George advised that he felt reassured knowing that he is being supported by our service.

How do you think this impacted on the person?

George has thanked his Advocate for the support he has so far received and feels it is useful to have both a written plan and face to face support when communicating with professionals. George feels empowered that his voice is now heard.

Why do you think advocacy support was so effective?

George was able to decide what support he did and did not want.  George’s goal is to reduce feeling socially isolated and increase his independence. George continues to gain confidence in engaging with professionals and is starting to feel listened to.

George said to this Community Advocate, “Thank you for supporting me, I find it difficult to say what I need and having you beside me to help me to speak to people really helps as I am now being heard.”

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