Advocates deal with issues across the board. These issues include human rights, health, access to care, housing and financial abuse.

Every case is reviewed three months after closure, and people are informed that they can re-contact us if necessary.

Case Study: Elderly lady coping with changing care needs…

A prior client in her 80’s re-contacted Advocacy in Barnet after she was dissatisfied with the authorities response to her change in circumstances.  An advocate supported her appeal against the decision to deny her wishes for her son to become her sole carer rather than partial carer’s allowance for her son and 3 daily visits by an agency and for her son to receive direct payments for this. Although the appeal stated that a family member could only receive this in exceptional circumstances for fear of misuse, it was eventually agreed that there should be a three-month trial with a list of recommended actions put in place.  The advocate then further expedited the payments as they were delayed and after a 13 month process Ms A and her son were able to manage her care the way she wished.  ‘I am so grateful that I had A as an advocate, I am now really, really pleased with how things are working, it is all sorted’.

Case Study: Refugee in inappropriate accommodation…

A vulnerable refugee housed in inappropriate accommodation that was further aggravating her physical and mental health issues. After referral by CAB, Advocacy in Barnet worked with the client, Barnet Homes and Genesis homes not only to support her in applying for more appropriate accommodation but helping the client understand the process enabling her to access the multiple documents and letters required. The advocate was with her every step from liaising with the associations, enabling her banding to be reassessed, to supporting her during her viewing of new accommodation to accessing furniture grants as the new accommodation was unfurnished. Since the move not only has Ms N’s physical health improved but so has her mental health and she is now confident enough to have an operation that will further positively impact her day to day living.

Case Study: Support dealing with an alleged sexual assault…

Ms G was referred to Advocacy in Barnet in January 2017. Ms G was looking for support in dealing with an alleged sexual assault she had been the victim of at the hands of a GP. Although Ms G had employed solicitors, taken up appeals with the IPC and General Medical Council she had failed to find peace and clarity. This has left her very anxious and emotional..

Her advocates discussed the incident with her and identified a seemingly unmanageable sense of frustration and injustice and so they worked together to focus on this.  Ms G collated and filed all the relevant paperwork around the incident and was able to work through it with her advocates, weighing up her options and possible implications. Ms G found she was gradually able to talk more calmly about her situation and think about the actions she would like to take and their realistic outcomes.

It was agreed that a few issues that had been highlighted would be raised again with the Metropolitan Police and the General Medical Council. Advocacy in Barnet wrote a supporting letter. Ms G acknowledged that, given the amount of time that had passed she was unlikely to achieve the results she had once hoped for but that she felt a weight had been lifted and said that her advocate was “the first person to listen to me after five years of dealing with this on my own”. Ms G received responses to our joint correspondence within a few weeks of sending them. These helped to bring further clarification and resolve to her situation, especially when she was told that the doctor in question was no longer practising. Ms G was so moved by her experience with Advocacy in Barnet that she recently attended a volunteer support meeting to talk about the importance of having an advocate for her.

Case Study: Help with housing…

Mr W self-referred to Advocacy in Barnet for help with housing. Mr W is a 64 year old man who is registered disabled, has COPD and multiple cancers.  Having had a stable place to live thanks to a friend a change of circumstances meant he needed to move.

Mr W’s advocate attended a pre arranged meeting with Barnet Group with him with a view to securing him a place in sheltered housing.  He informed them of his current situation, medical situation and forthcoming treatment for cancer. Mr W was given the impression that he would be Band 1 for housing needs. However, after this meeting Mr W received a letter from Barnet Group stating that he had given them the impression he was 65 rather than 64 at the time, and that his savings were such he would be Band 4 and, with a week until eviction, the best option would be to move in to a private rented studio flat. On learning that he was not seen to be eligible for sheltered housing, and with the inference that he had tried to be misleading about his age, Mr W contacted Advocacy in Barnet and stated that he felt “totally dejected” and that he was considering not having cancer treatment and instead letting the illness run it’s course.

Mr W’s advocate facilitated an appeal of this decision and, with just a week remaining until he was evicted, contacted a local councillor. The councillor immediately contacted Advocacy in Barnet and Barnet Homes and involved herself in his case. In the meantime, Mr W had left his previous accommodation and was staying in a hotel. The councillor’s involvement caused the Emergency Response Team to become involved and they commenced looking for suitable temporary accommodation for him. Barnet Group also admitted that they had made a mistake in not allocating him Band 1 previously.

Following appeal and intervention by the councillor Mr W was elevated to Band 1 and suitable accommodation found in a one bedroom sheltered housing flat in which he is now very happy. He could commence his cancer treatment in a comfortable new home and told his advocate that sometimes he feels like “going out just so he can come home”.

Case Study: Quality of life improved…

Ms W was referred to Advocacy in Barnet in May 2017. She was an inpatient at Edgware Community Hospital having suffered two strokes. Ms W was 57 years old and had previously been living independently in Barnet. She had been being supported by her sister but she became overwhelmed and asked for advocacy support for her sister.

As a result of the strokes Ms W had been left paralysed down one side of her body, she had previously had a brain tumour and her memory was not good. Modifications would be required in Ms W’s property for her to return to her privately rented flat but her landlord was not willing to do this Ms W was going to be made homeless within two weeks of being discharged from hospital. Hospital discharge coordinators and social workers advised that this was the correct course of action, that Ms W should return home and then present herself as homeless when her tenancy expired. Advocates argued that this was an inappropriate course of action. Advocates escalated these concerns and then attended a series of multi- disciplinary meet which saw medical staff agree and a place was found for her in local sheltered housing and a care package was arranged. Unfortunately Ms W had a series of falls in the sheltered housing and ended up being readmitted to hospital.

Ms W was then held in hospital for a period of months awaiting allocation to more appropriate accommodation. During which time she received poor treatment from some members of staff which advocates supported her in complaining about as she did not want her family further upset by this. Advocates attended many multi- disciplinary meetings on Ms W’s next move and funding her care. Ms W has a child in London who lives in a neighbouring borough. She had no previous connections to Barnet before she had begun renting a flat there six months before her strokes. Advocates campaigned for her to be moved to a care home nearer to her daughter. Despite Ms W having no previous ties to Barnet, this was repeatedly turned down and Ms W was being offered very little in Barnet based alternatives. After several months of meetings, emails, calls and complaints to hospital staff, hospital social workers and community social workers Ms W was discharged to a care home in the desired borough. Ms W now finally resides in an appropriate care home and she is able to see her daughter very regularly.

Ms W was visited for the final time by advocates last month. She is enjoying being in her new care home and said she has been taking part in some activities and seeing her daughter.

Ms W did not wish to make a complaint about the treatment she had received while in hospital until she was safely in another place for fear it would affect the care she was receiving. This complaint is now being finalised so that lessons can be learned from Ms W’s experience.

On closing the case Ms W’s sister emailed the advocate:

“I would also like to thank you personally, and on behalf of the family, for all the information, guidance, care and support you have given Ms W and therefore the family.  As I am sure you will remember, you accepting Ms W’s case came at a very crucial and difficult time and your input made a huge difference to Barnet’s treatment of her and there providing her the care she needed.”

Case Study: Advocacy support for an 89 year old lady with dementia…

Social Services had alleged that an 89 year-old woman with dementia was being beaten by her daughter (her main care giver) which led to AIB being contacted. The daughter told AIB that bruising had occurred whilst helping her mother in and out of the bath. Although the consultant had confirmed by letter to Social Services that the Mother’s medical condition caused bruising to Social Services, this had not been received by them. The mother’s wish to return to Ghana, supported by her family were rejected and instead Social Services sent the Mother to a residential home. The advocate persisted in contacting the Head of Social Care, Occupational Therapists, family and friends, resulting in previously lost hospital correspondence being found. Despite an apology by Social Services for the accusation of abuse, the Mother was refused clearance to go to Ghana, now on medical grounds. Advocacy challenged the social workers’ decision for her to remain in residential care (which she hated) and demonstrated that treatment required would be provided adequately. Eight months after the first meeting, the mother returned to Ghana, where she is much better.

Case Study: A husband and wife’s struggle to stay together…

Denied by the discharge co-ordinator to re-join her husband of 60 years at the care home in which she resided on the grounds of changing care needs, the advocate liaised with Social Services, hospital and the care home to ensure she moved back as wished. Mrs B’s daughter felt her mother and father wouldn’t have survived long without each other nor achieved the couple being reunited without the advocate’s intervention.

Case Study: Returning home…

83 and terminally ill, all Mr T wanted was to be near his only living relative in Northern Ireland. Challenging the legal obstacles to this on human rights’ grounds, the advocate succeeded in getting both sides to agree and sign the transfer of care contracts. Six months on, Mr T’s health and emotional well-being have significantly improved since his return to his birthplace.

Case Study: Living alone and feeling vulnerable…

Ms J living alone and without relatives was admitted to hospital after a fall. Appearing frightened by her visitors, the advocate wondered whether they were really her friends or taking financial advantage. The advocate established that loans taken out by “friends” in her name and card purchases had cleared over £60,000 from her account. The advocate negotiated for Ms J to be moved to a secure ward as the verbal abuse of the perpetrators visiting her in the hospital was leaving her fearful. At the time of discharge, the advocate helped her move to another place out of the risk area and to then recover some of her money. She is now in a safe and happy environment.