It’s often hard to explain to people what a Citizen Advocacy Development Worker actually does. No two days are ever the same. But here’s what one day this week looked like for me…
An earlier than usual start to deliver some training to hospital staff about ‘non-instructed’ advocacy. I have matched a patient with severe autism with a long term Citizen Advocate in order to give him an independent voice. He is unable to tell his Advocate about his needs and wishes, so the Advocate is to spend time observing him in different situations on the ward in order to understand him better. I’m delivering several training sessions over a matter of weeks so that all his care staff understand the concept of non-instructed advocacy and can help support the development of this Advocacy Partnership.
Back at the office I catch up with a colleague about a new referral she has taken and a potential new advocate who has volunteered.
A lunchtime support meeting in town with a long term Citizen Advocate. We catch up on all the news about her Advocacy Partnership over a bowl of soup. In particular, I check there are no issues that need my support.
Back at the DA office I meet with an Advocate and a senior member of his Advocacy Partner’s staff, with the aim of gaining a greater understanding of his Partner’s mental health issues and learning disability. It’s a useful meeting with lots of discussion. The Advocate tells me he has learned a lot more, which makes it so worthwhile.
I rush to get to my last meeting, this time with a one year old Partnership. These two ladies are becoming great friends as the Advocate is great at listening to her Partner who has health problems and can suffer from depression. They are busy completing some forms together, which the Advocacy Partner would struggle to do without support. After catching up over coffee, I leave them to finish and return to the office.
My day ends with a ‘debrief’ phone call to an Advocate after he has attended a Review Meeting. He tells me this has gone well. Meanwhile, a colleague is busy setting up the office for the Preparation Course session for new Advocates he is running this evening.
Time for me to head home though.
And tomorrow will be different yet again…I love my job!
Blog by Barbara McKenzie, Citizen Advocacy Development Worker