Helping George

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

George had been living in his own flat with support staff available until he sadly became unwell with weight loss, vomiting and trouble swallowing. George was admitted to hospital and investigations began to determine the problems George was having. A stent was fitted urgently to help widen George’s oesophagus to allow him to swallow without struggling while further tests and biopsies were done. The results of these biopsy’s showed that George had advanced cancer.

What did you do to help the person?

George was transferred to a different hospital following the stent being fitted and a referral was made to Advocacy Focus to support George around the possible treatment options for his cancer. George had been made aware of his diagnosis but struggled to fully understand what this might mean. George’s advocate supported him by showing him easy read guides and requesting for Macmillan nurses to visit and provide further support. George was discharged to a care home due to requiring additional support following his operation. George swiftly recovered and regained his independence but remained in the care home due to a social worker not being allocated following his discharge. George frequently informed his advocate of his unhappiness often saying he hated it and felt very isolated. George’s advocate pursued the local authority to allocate a social worker to support with moving George back to his flat. Unfortunately, George was readmitted to hospital. George and his advocate met with the consultant who informed George that his cancer had metastasised to several organs and that there were no treatment options available at this time, other than to manage his symptoms and ensure he was comfortable. George’s advocate asked for the consultant to explain this in a simpler term to aid his understanding and requested for specialist support from the learning disability team along with palliative care nurses.

What was the outcome?

The hospital discharge team obtained CHC (continueing health care) fast track funding for George and he was soon discharged to the same care home, despite George and his advocate expressing his views around this, in that he wanted to return to his flat. George’s advocate was made aware of this move the following day. George’s advocate escalated this to the Integrated Care Boards Commissioning Support Unit (ICB CSU) and challenged whether the actions taken by the hospital discharge team in not listening to George’s expressed views was a possible breach of his rights under the Equality Act due to his learning disability. An internal investigation was launched and a nurse assessor was quickly allocated to George’s case and arranged for a review. George’s advocate provided his views to the nurse assessor ahead of this review and emphasised that George’s article 5 rights (right to liberty) were in jeopardy as he had frequently expressed his dissatisfaction and been placed in a home where he was not free to leave despite having been found to have the mental capacity around this decision and he had not been given any information around challenging this.

Following from the review, George was able to return home to his flat the following week with district nurses in place to support with managing the symptoms of his advanced cancer.

How do you think this impacted on the person?

George’s advocate supported him to have his views heard around his accommodation and ensure he was able to return to his home and challenged decisions which were made by the ICB. George’s advocate also ensured that the correct support network was in place to help George understand his diagnosis. George was able to plan his funeral and with support wrote a will. George returned to his supported flat with district nurses attending to support when required. George was able to access the community, took part in bingo and accessed parties held by the provider. George said he was, “over the moon” to be able to return home and support staff said that he was, “so happy” to be back around his friends for the remainder of his life. George sadly passed away 2 months after returning to his flat but was able to be surrounded by his friends and familiar faces and live his life the way he wanted during these months. 

Why do you think advocacy support was so effective?

Advocacy support was so effective as it enabled George to have his power back and challenge decisions which were made for him, rather than with him. George’s advocate being aware of different legislations enabled them to challenge the lawfulness of decisions which were made, ultimately leading to George returning home. Having the support of an advocate allowed George to live his remaining months, truly living the life he wanted to.

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