At Dumfries and Galloway Advocacy Service we provide Independent Advocacy for clients subject to the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. Our objective is to protect the rights of those people with a mental disorder – that being mental illness, personality disorder and learning disability – and to speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves.
Furthermore a client with Dementia may not be able to express their wishes, and would then require an Advocate to act on their behalf and work with the client to promote their best interests. This is known as non-instructed Advocacy.
Advocacy is person centred by definition. This is particularly relevant to dementia advocacy and dementia care which puts the individual and their needs foremost, recognising and supporting their unique personal history and personality. Their dementia is secondary.
There are two sides to advocacy which are particularly relevant to those with dementia: empowering and safeguarding.
By empowering an individual, we give them a voice, we include them in all decisions that affect their lives and we enable them to make decisions and express their views and wishes.
Safeguarding is particularly important when the individual may no longer be able to express themselves and make choices. Through our role we protect them from discrimination and neglect and ensure that their rights are respected and upheld. We also ensure that all decisions that are made take into account any expressed wishes and known aspects of their life that may enhance their quality of life.
As Advocates we help vulnerable adults by providing information about their care and treatment options, and aim to empower those adults to make informed choices. We can help vulnerable adults to communicate their wishes and feelings to professional agencies involved in their life such as the NHS and Local Authority, to ensure that their voice is being heard and recognised.
Advance statements are a powerful way of ensuring that people with mental health problems are listened to, even when they are unwell.
If you become unwell with a mental illness, you may need treatment. Sometimes, when people are very unwell, they are unable or unwilling to consent to treatment. In some cases, you may be given treatment even if you don't want it.
You may find it helpful to write an advance statement when you are well, stating how you would like to be treated if you become ill in the future. Anyone who makes decisions about your treatment, like doctors or a tribunal, should read your advance statement and consider your wishes.
An advance statement is not a guarantee that your wishes will be followed, but it is a guarantee that they will be taken into account. An advance statement should be witnessed and signed by a health or social care professional.
It is a good idea to review your advance statement every six or 12 months to make sure it is up to date.
We can support you to do this – contact the office.
Click on the link below for further details from the Mental Welfare Commission.
Use our quick and easy online Referral Form to get in touch with Dumfries and Galloway Advocacy Service today. We may contact the Referrer for further information if required.Fill in Form
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