Celebrating ELRA and looking forward to My Life, My Decision
- face to face advocacy support for older people wishing to discuss end-of-life plans and/or complete Advance Decisions or Lasting Power of Attorneys
- awareness raising events in the local community
- free end-of-life rights training for health & social care organisations
- local steering group
‘ a genuinely inclusive project with stakeholder involvement . . . . We felt listened to’
Cynthia also shared some recent findings by the Health Ombudsman that many older people are too fearful to ask the health service for what they want. Thanks to the Big Lottery Fund we are going to be able help to address this, as the pilot has highlighted our approach is providing a voice for older people when they can no longer speak for themselves and is encouraging others to speak up when they can. The more we raise awareness of end of life rights the more we can help older people & their families overcome their fears as they realise it is their right to express their wishes and it is their right to expect others to respect those wishes.
Vicky Gadd, Advocacy Manager presented an overview of advocacy and how the referral process worked, before handing over to Ann-Marie Kargbo, Advocacy Officer to talk about the influence of culture, faith and media. And then it was Becky Brown, Programme Development Manager, who shared the impact the project has had on the lives of older people in East London and the delivery of other services. We’ve shared below some of the quotes that Becky used in her presentation.
‘Doing this work has me think about my mum . . . it’s made us talk about it as a family. So we have started that conversation about how she wants things and what I want. It’s got good debates going – what’s your bottom line? what do you not want to happen?’
‘I had been thinking about what to do – you see I don’t have any close relatives – so I thought if there was something in writing, then there would be something for the doctors to refer to . . . For someone in my position, it’s really good to know I can make my wishes known and hopefully nothing will happen that I don’t want to happen . . . . . . just pleased there was a way for me to let it be known’
‘It gives you the confidence to raise the subject because you’ve had that training – you’re not going to talk about something you don’t know about it. With people I’ve visited subsequently, I’ve talked to them about the training, I’ve talked to them about what i was doing and then what was learnt, and some of them have discussed it with me since. That’s one of the best things about the training session, it gives you the opportunity to do that.’
These quotes, feedback from the project and our 76 page independent evaluation have all highlighted what a difference we are making by raising awareness of end of life rights and by giving people the opportunity to talk to someone.
The afternoon finished with a presentation to our Older Person’s Steering Group by Debbie Walker, CEO, Age UK East London and a second tea. The scones were delicious!
It was a great event thanks to Verena’s excellent organisation and the engagement of everyone who attended. We would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the pilot, as it was a team effort to secure the £1million funding to enable us to roll it out across England.