A review has been launched into advocacy arrangements for older people living in care homes in Wales, following growing evidence of inconsistent provision across the country.
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Ruth Marks, said the review would assess how effective the current arrangements are in safeguarding and promoting the interests of older people in care homes.
Research shows that advocacy can be of crucial importance to older people at all stages of decision making regarding care homes, from deciding to enter, whilst living in the care home, or when moving from it.
However, much of the commissioner’s casework involves concerns about older people’s experiences of care homes. Many are related to situations where access to an independent advocate would be beneficial and may have led to different outcomes.
In March, Advocacy Counts 3, a joint report by Marks and Age Cymru, found that the provision of advocacy services for older people in Wales was inconsistent and that there were still large areas of the country without funded advocacy services.
Marks said: “Advocacy is vital to help people to say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain the services they need. Preliminary work indicates that the provision of this essential form of support is often lacking, meaning that some of the most vulnerable older people in our society cannot access the help they might need.”
“The provision of local, independent advocacy services for older people plays a vital role in ensuring older people get the services, treatment and respect they deserve,” said Rachel Rowlands, chief executive of Age Concern Morgannwg, which provides independent advocacy services in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil and Bridgend.
Kay Stevens, chair of the Older People’s Advocacy Alliance (UK) said: “This review could make a real difference to advocacy provision for older people across Wales, not only in terms of the increasingly important need to safeguard but also in enabling older people to stick up for themselves and their rights, promote their own interests and thus enjoy the high quality of life most of us take for granted.”
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