There was a great turnout at the talk Vicky did last week, and we are all delighted by the number of requests for 1:1 follow up appointments to discuss Advance Decisions and Lasting Power of Attorney’s.  But let’s let Vicky share the Holby City tale!

Last week I went with one of the Volunteer Advocates to speak at a Residents meeting at Staples House – an extra care scheme with staff on-site care staff, non-resident Management staff (24 hours 7 days) and community alarm service.

There was a good turn out with 22 tenants present, along with 4 staff. Following introductions and a request to take photographs  I informed those present why I was there and asked those present if they had heard of Advance Decisions and/ or Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Me with residents at Staple House
Me with residents at Staple House

One tenant said that she did and that she has an LPA and that the attorney is her Son.  I have found that the easiest way to raise a new subject is to try and to relate it to something they may know. In previous meetings with people I ask them if they have seen Casualty/ Holby City or another hospital programme and when they say yes I talk about situations where people are brought into hospital and a quick decision needs to be made re treatment but the patient is not able to make the decision the family are then asked. This usually results in plenty of nods of agreement and comments such as ‘yes I have watched something like that’.

However, today, I happened to be in a room full of people who never watch such programmes. Quickly changing my approach I asked them if anyone watched the soaps (on the basis that hospital trips/ life or death situations/ dramas are common place in such programmes), again everyone said no. Although my careful preparation now went out the window, I had another option up my sleeve. I then talked about situations where maybe someone has fallen and is unconscious and is taken to hospital but cannot communicate their views and wishes. This worked as people around the room began to nod and I sighed a sigh of relief!

An explanation of the importance of both AD’s & LPA’s, emphasising the fact that both are legal documents then followed and my earlier struggles to name a situation/ television programme which those present watched were forgotten as at the end when I asked if anyone would like a 1-1 meeting or further information 8 people said that they did – over 33% of the tenants present.

Staple House residents

Staple House residents

Also present was the scheme Manager and her Manager who is keen to invite us to talk to tenants at other sheltered housing schemes in Newham.  Hopefully when we go some of them will watch the above named television programmes and my carefully prepared talk will once again be used!

I am looking forward to making those 1:1 appointments; it is great to be able to meet and talk with tenants across our local community, and to raise their awareness of their rights.

Vicky Gadd

Advocacy Manager and ELRA Co-ordinator

Age UK East London