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What is Advocacy? - What is an advocate?

Topics in this section:

What is an Advocate
Formal vs Informal

What is an advocate?

An advocate is a person who represents and works with a person or group of people who may need support and encouragement to exercise their rights, in order to ensure that their rights are upheld.

What can an advocate do for you?

An advocate from the Residential Aged Care Advocacy Services Program will

  • provide information and assistance to support the rights of older people using aged care services
  • provide a free, confidential and independent service to older people and their representatives
  • recognise the important role of significant others, including families, in supporting and upholding the rights of older people
  • work directly with permission of the older person who is able to make their own decisions and express their wishes
  • will take steps to identify all significant others relating to the older person including family and friends when an older person is unable to express their wishes
  • work with the representative of the older person when they are seen to be acting in the older person's best interests

ImageWhen people contact an advocacy agency, the advocate will

  • listen and ask questions in order to clarify the specific issues of concern
  • provide accurate information about the rights of the older person
  • provide strategies to resolve the problem
  • discuss any negative consequences that may arise from a particular action
  • proceed only if the older person or their representative gives permission
  • support the older person and/or their representative to advocate themselves or speak on their behalf
  • consult and keep the older person and/or their representative informed during the advocacy process, until the issues are resolved
  • will provide information and referral to other agencies if they are unable to resolve the concerns

Considerations for the advocate:

The advocate will follow clear procedures when working with the older person and/or their representative.

  • The advocate will assist the older person to express their wishes
  • The older person will choose their representative
  • When there is conflict between representatives, the best interests of the older person, their previously expressed and present wishes, will determine what happens
  • When the older person's best interests are at risk, the advocate will refer to more formal means to resolve conflict and ensure that the older person's rights are safeguarded

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