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Gaining independence: how Care Act advocacy supported Jess’s voice to be heard

25 May 2023

Jess is very sociable, and has a great imagination and sense of humour. She enjoys a range of different activities including swimming, walking, musical shows, collecting vinyl records, car boot sales and socialising with her friends. 

Jess was living at home with her dad and stepmum. They managed her finances for her, and the day-to-day running of the home, including cooking meals. Jess is independent with her personal care and mobilising, but wanted to learn more independence skills for when her dad is no longer able to support her. She can explain her needs and use the phone, but she felt constrained by her dad and stepmum. 

Jess was referred to VoiceAbility for support to employ a personal assistant (PA) who would match her personality, and support her to access all the activities she wanted to.

Setting goals

Jess’s advocate Suzanne worked with Jess to employ a PA, and set goals as to what independence skills she would like to learn. 

They also discussed how to facilitate change with how she communicates with her dad. Meeting face to face with Jess and her PA, they identified that Jess’s confidence outside the home was growing at a rapid rate with the support of her PA. However, there was still a barrier to having open conversations with her dad, in particular about forward planning for when he’s not around.

Jess concluded that she wanted to have an open conversation in a safe space with support from Suzanne, and to have her social worker there to chair the meeting. That would enable her to openly discuss the points she wanted to make, without fear of recriminations or being talked over, and without anyone leaving the meeting before all points were covered.

Talking openly

At the meeting, Jess was able to make her points. Her dad was reminded of her rights when he questioned some aspects of what she wanted. Jess’s voice was heard and acknowledged, and changes were agreed by everyone. 

The conversation Jess wanted to have was managed in a calm, open forum where everyone felt able to speak. Jess confirmed she felt listened to by her dad, and expressed confidence that the changes and actions would happen as agreed.

A follow up meeting was arranged to make sure everything they discussed would happen.

Jess is now planning a holiday with friends, and a solicitor’s visit to arrange her lasting power of attorney and her will. She’s also enjoying cooking practice sessions with her PA at home.

* To protect people’s privacy we don’t use their real names, but their stories are genuine.