Advocacy is a way of helping people to get their view or opinions heard and acknowledged. An advocate is a person who has been trained to help someone say what they want to say.
In Scotland there are two approaches to advocacy. One is independent advocacy - where an advocate will help you to communicate your needs. This is the form of advocacy you will find useful if you, or the person you care for, think that other people, e.g. professionals, are not understanding or listening to what you want.
The other kind of advocacy in Scotland is group advocacy. This involves a group of individuals who campaign together on issues relevant to the whole group.
As a carer you may wish to make use of an advocate in a number of ways. You may find that the person you care for is struggling to communicate their needs to the health and social care professionals involved. You may also find that you have been trying to advocate on behalf of the person you care for, only to find that you also struggle to make your voice heard. In these instances, you may find an advocate can help the cared for person’s needs to be recognised and respected.
However, advocacy is a service which is also available to you, as the carer. It might help you express difficulties that you are facing and/or defend your rights as a carer. For example, you may be finding certain parts of your caring role to be quite overwhelming but are finding it hard to communicate this to others. An advocate could help by accompanying you to your carer’s assessment and helping you get your concerns across to the Social Worker.