"Our advocate took the pressure off the family"

About: Advocacy Support Cymru

(as a relative),

My mother was admitted to hospital in March 2014. She is 69 and has had Alzheimer’s since her late 50’s.

We were informed by the hospital that an advocate would be visiting mum to assess her. Lisa visited my mother, leading up to a best interest meeting, which was followed by a continuing care meeting.

Lisa grasped the situation very quickly, was very astute, approachable and obviously there for mums best interest. Lisa was totally professional and without her advice at the meetings I am not sure we would have had such a good outcome. She took the pressure off the family, knowing that a professional, capable person was on our side.

When we initially heard that an advocate would be involved in mum’s care, we were extremely worried – we felt that someone else was going to make decisions on her behalf, without consultation with the family.

This was very stressful. I feel that the carer should be contacted to explain how you work and why. Alternatively a leaflet should be given out, with a contact number if necessary. This would have alleviated enormous angst at a particularly worrying time for the whole family. Once we were made aware and met Lisa, our fears eased.

Overall, an excellent experience with a lovely, caring lady.

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Response from Advocacy Support Cymru

Thank you very much for this feedback. We have made sure that Lisa has received your comments.

We are sorry to hear that you were worried about the advocates input and that this caused you stress. As a result of your comments we have drafted a letter that nursing staff can give to family and carers to explain our role. We will also be developing an information leaflet for carers about Independent Mental Health Advocacy service. We currently have leaflets for Professionals and Service Users but are glad that your input has prompted us to add a carers leaflet to this.

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