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Achieving a shared understanding in a difficult situation

Making sure older people are included in discussions about rest home placement





Achieving a shared understanding in a difficult situation

Prosthetics ~ Right 4(3) consistent with needs ~ Right 6 ~ fully informed

A consumer sought the help of an advocate as he felt a prosthetics provider had put him in the "too hard basket". He wanted help to get the answers he needed. After considering the options he opted for a meeting and with the advocate's help drafted a written request to the provider. In the letter he outlined the concerns he wanted to discuss and also acknowledged the good work he had received in the past.

The provider responded within five days stating that he was happy to meet. The meeting was held at the advocate's office as both the consumer and provider felt it important to be on neutral ground. The meeting went for two hours and at its conclusion the consumer felt he had received answers to many questions about his future and what had gone wrong with his treatment. The provider was very honest and apologised for the previous lack of communication.

The consumer was almost in tears when the provider's CEO said that although they cannot help him any more as his needs are now beyond the capability of anyone in NZ and Australia, they are behind him and will do anything that they can to assist him to get the technology he needs to keep him independent. Both the provider and the consumer left the meeting with a plan of action for the future, and an improved relationship due to a shared understanding of the situation.

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Making sure older people are included in discussions about rest home placement

Older woman ~ Assessment ~ Family meeting ~ Rest home placement ~ Speaking up ~ Rehabilitation

The family of an older woman in her nineties contacted an advocate to support them at a meeting with staff at the rehabilitation unit where their relative had been assessed. The staff advised against the woman returning home with support. The advocate explained to the family that because advocates are on the side of the consumer she would need to meet with the consumer prior to the meeting.

The consumer advised the advocate that she had also been thinking about her future. She felt she was becoming 'too much' for her niece, who had also been unwell.  Options for the future were discussed. The consumer told the advocate about her friend in a "lovely home". If she was assessed as needing care, this was the place she would like to go. The advocate encouraged her to attend the family meeting and speak up about her views.

The meeting with medical staff, family and the consumer was the first time the consumer had been involved in any discussions about her future. Assumptions that the consumer wanted to return home had been made by her family as well as the staff who had assessed her. It was a surprise to them all to find she was just as concerned about the level of care she needed as they were. The meeting provided her with the opportunity to have her say. 

She is now living the 'life of a Queen' in the 'lovely rest home' with her friend, and is enjoying being cared for 24/7. 

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