Page Section: Centre Content Column

Networking

Sharing resources for networking

Strategic Networking

Breaking through barriers

Network meeting with a DHB Interpreting Service

Networking via radio

Expert knowledge about local information

Networking at a day service

Networking creates education opportunity for Deaf

Education & networking reaches core community groups

Strategic Networking scoops up three education sessions

Residential Visits to Children's Homes

Residential visits make access to an advocate easy for residents

Value of networking

First visit to residential facility

Complaint results in strengthened networks

Familiarity through networking assists consumers open up

Networking with a health provider leads to education

Opportunity for training on the Code

Assistance for social worker

Establishing a network of local advocates

Networking Chatham Islands Style

Networking in residential homes

Using the CAB as an established information hub

Working within a local interest focused network

 

 

 

Sharing resources for networking

An advocate responsible for a large geographical area discovered that another service provider also covered the same area. After making contact with the service provider, the two people met and arranged to travel together.  

It transpired that both needed to visit the same providers with the exception of three. Travelling together not only meant better utilisation of resources but provided an opportunity for each to learn more about the service the other provided. 

Go to top

 

Strategic Networking

An advocate contacted a clinical service manager (CSM) to arrange to meet with her. The advocate was keen to discuss her role as well as the visits to the residential homes the CSM was responsible for. The discussions not only focussed on the role of the advocacy service but also on the organisation's plans for the future. This included the building of some new houses where residents could be cared for rather than moving to rest homes in their old age. 

Following the meeting the CSM took the advocate to two day bases, one for older people and one for young people where the advocate was introduced to the residents. The CSM then took the advocate to the homes of residents who were not present at the day bases.

The advocate and CSM agreed to meet on a regular basis. 

Go to top

 

Positive networking with a provider

An advocate met with the area manager of a large disability service to introduce herself. The meeting provided an opportunity for them to be able to identify each other and to discuss planned visits to residential disability homes in the local region. At the meeting the area manager provided details of the homes and day bases in the area and said he would be contacting his local managers so they would know what to expect when the advocate visited.

Following this initial meeting the advocate made contact with the three day bases in the area. They were all were very receptive and invited the advocate to visit. It was agreed that in the first instance visits will be to introduce herself and the service to the consumers and the staff and leave information for both.

The advocate's aim in visiting these centres is to build a rapport with all and to establish times when it would be appropriate to go back and provide education on the Code and advocacy to both consumers and staff. 

Go to top

 

Breaking through barriers

Maori Mental Health ~ Networking

An advocate decided to make a cold call to one of the large Maori Mental Health Organisations. To his surprise he was unable to enter the premises as the only entrance was through a large locked gate that was unmanned.  Prior to visiting the facility a second time he called ahead to let them know of his pending arrival and asked that the gate be unlocked. The organisation obliged, but once inside the gate he was told he could not see anyone as he needed permission from their headquarters. 

Upon his return to the office the advocate phoned the head office and was told the manager was too busy to speak with him. Undeterred by this response, the advocate proceeded to explain the purpose for his call.

He said he was keen to adhere to and initiate whakawhanaungatanga, and that over the years of his mahi he had found taking care of tikanga and kaupapa had assisted him in understanding others' mahi and helped establish professional relationships. He was still not given permission to visit the facility or an appointment with the manager. 

When the opportunity presented to accompany someone else to the facility the advocate jumped at the chance and as a result was able to take part in the whakatau.

As a result, when the advocate later contacted the manager a meeting was granted, and after discussing whanau and their respective mahi the advocate was given approval to visit their residential home any time. 

 

 

Network meeting with a DHB Interpreting Service

An advocate contacted a DHB Interpreting Service coordinator by email to arrange a network meeting.  The advocate was aware that the interpreting service had had a few staff changes as well as the local Deaf Community having concerns on how to access the interpreting service.  

The advocate went to the meeting with a prepared list of questions and met the new interpreting service coordinator. The coordinator had only been in the role for one month.  

The advocate and coordinator discussed how the service would work and what the requirements were for the Deaf when requesting an NZSL interpreter. The advocate was also keen to see who was on their list as an NZSL communicator or interpreter. The advocate told the co-ordinator that there were two Interpreting Services they can use to book NZSL interpreters. 

The advocate had a clearer idea of how the service would work and passed on her findings to the Deaf community. 

Go to top

 

Networking via radio

An advocate was contacted by a local community group in response to a media release about the Code of Rights Anniversary Day.

They wanted the advocate to speak on their radio show about the advocacy service and how it could help their listeners.. The advocate was contacted via email and phone prior to the interview. A set of discussion points were agreed on but not specific questions in order to provide a better flow for the interview. 

The theme of the radio show is to encourage the general public to "Help Yourself" by providing information about community supports and organisations available.

The advocate spoke about her role as a health and disability advocate, the Code of Rights and how the advocacy service could help people with concerns. There were questions asked by the interviewer about what might happen with a complaint response, what the options might be for a consumer with a complaint and what sorts of complaints are covered by the advocacy service. 

The advocate spoke about how the advocacy service could put consumers in touch with other community groups if the consumer's complaint was outside of the advocacy service's jurisdiction. The radio show finished with the advocate giving out the free 0800 number for any listeners that may wish to speak with an advocate. 

Go to top

 

Expert knowledge about local information

An advocate received numerous calls from consumers/family members around the process for older people entering rest home facilities.  With the ageing population being more active and better supported, older people are staying longer in their homes.

However, by the time these consumers are reassessed for rest home level care, the care required is often more than basic rest home care. This in itself has its own problems as there is often a lack of suitable beds which often means that some consumers have no choice but to take up rest home beds out of the district. They then put their names down to return when a vacancy occurs.  

This can often take months rather than weeks and is difficult for family members to visit their relative in the out-of-district rest home.

This was causing stress for the family members that frequently called the advocate. They often did not know how to find out where there were rest home beds available, prior to assessment.

The advocate was able to hear the concerns of the consumers/family members and then relay the need to contact the NASC agency who has responsibility for informing consumers/families which rest homes have beds and at what level. The information usually isn't known by the consumers/families until the assessment process starts.

The family members were grateful to have someone to talk to and find out who they could now contact.

Go to top

 

Networking at a day service

An advocate visited a day service which offers people with disabilities the opportunity to learn new skills and participate in activities while making new friends in their community. They also provide respite day services for whanau members and people who live in residential facilities in the area. The purpose of the advocate's visit was to introduce herself to the duty care managers and the consumers who were there on this particular afternoon.

The duty manager showed her around the facilities. The Code of Rights resources were displayed on their walls and brochure holders were in easily accessible locations.

The advocate sat by one of the consumers while they were taking a break. They discussed the role of an advocate.  The advocate explained she could be there for them if they had a problem/concern with any health or disability service they may use.

One consumer knew all about the Code of Rights posters and how he has the right to be told what is happening when he goes to his medical appointments at the hospital. The consumers talked about telling someone if they didn't like something that had happened to them. They agreed they would tell their whanau or someone else they liked.

The advocate used the skills of inclusive communication with consumers who have a different way of communicating and thinking.  She also took the opportunity to leave the easy read brochures there and felt sure from her conversation with the consumers they know about their Rights and how to alert someone if they have concerns.

Go to top

 

Networking creates education opportunity for Deaf

Rest Home ~ Networking  ~ Deaf & Hearing Impaired

An advocate made a visit to a rest home to introduce herself. She was fortunate to be able to meet the facility manager and introduce herself and explain her role. The manager made the advocate feel very welcome and expressed great interest in the advocate's role.      

In addition to consumers who are Deaf or hard of hearing, the Manager advised that the home employed two staff members with a hearing disability. Both are deaf and wear hearing aids.  

As one staff member was on duty at the time of the advocate's visit, the manager introduced the advocate to the deaf staff member.  The three were able to have a productive discussion on effective communication with Deaf/deaf and hard of hearing people.  The outcome of that discussion is that the advocate received an invitation to provide an education session for residents of the home. 

Go to top

 

Education & networking reaches core community groups

After establishing a regular network with the local Taiwhenua, an advocate was invited to provide an education session to a group of forty-five staff from the Hauora provider organisation.

In the month following the training the advocate engaged in a number of networking sessions with various provider staff who had attended the session. As a result of establishing these networks and maintaining ongoing contact, the advocate was invited to present another Advocacy/Code of Rights session at Te Taiwhenua, this time with fifty Kaumatua from around the Ngati Kahungunu region.

It is networking and education sessions such as this that spread the word to local people who may have need of the assistance advocates can provide. 

Go to top

 

Stars of the Day
 Effective Networking ~ MPs ~ specialist advocates
The local MP's office had previously contacted the advocacy service for support for a constituent with a complaint about her new GP.
Consequently, when the Parliamentary support workers for all of the MP's within the City held a Network Day,  the advocate  was invited to speak about the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service, the Commissioner's role and the Code. 
Three advocates attended as it provided an excellent opportunity to introduce our Deaf advocate, talk about our refugee migrant advocate and to show a power-point outlining our various roles working with consumers and how we deal with complaints. We also gave information about our roles supporting consumers, visiting residential homes, and giving educational talks about the Code of Rights. 
The session was lively and many questions arose regarding our service.  Many of the support workers were keen to know our contact details.  We received a very positive email saying the feedback from the staff who attended was so positive and that "You guys were the stars of the day"! 

 

Strategic Networking scoops up three education sessions

An advocate attended a network meeting hosted by a day programme for users of mental health services. This network had been set up some time ago but there had recently been major staffing changes and the advocate felt it was a good opportunity for some strategic networking to reconnect with the provider and the consumers using the service.

Specifically, the advocate intended to offer some education sessions for the consumers and this was discussed with the manager at the meeting.  The suggestion was taken to the members' meeting that afternoon. The advocate followed up that same day with an email thanking the manager for taking the suggestion to the members, and the next day the manager replied. 

The programme members had asked for three specific contacts - a lunchtime presentation for members at the day programme, an evening presentation for members who now work, and the opportunity for an advocate to be interviewed by a member, in their community radio spot, to discuss the role of advocates.

The advocate was delighted that the targeted and strategic networking was so positively received and resulted in three education sessions for consumers. 

Go to top

 

Residential Visits to Children's Homes

An advocate visiting residential homes encountered a group of homes for children of primary school age who would be too young to engage with an advocate on their own.

After discussing options with the intellectual disability residential provider it was agreed that the advocate would be invited to speak at the annual family forum days each September. This would provide an opportunity for relatives of the children to meet the local advocate, and to learn about the Code of Rights and the role of the advocacy service.

Go to top

 

Residential visits make access to an advocate easy for residents

Networking ~ Residential visits ~ Vulnerable people

A new residential service had been added to an advocate's list to visit. The advocate contacted the Manager by phone to introduce himself. He told the manager about the role of an advocate and the purpose of residential visits to make access to an advocate easy for the residents. A date to meet was agreed.

When he arrived there were three managers waiting to meet him. He quickly established that they were apprehensive about the nature of the visits. He was able to put them at ease very quickly by explaining how the residents would find it very difficult and in most cases impossible to contact an advocate.

As the advocacy service has a mandate to be available to all consumers of health and disability services it is appropriate for advocates to be pro-active and go to those who are not able to come to them.

This explanation reassured the managers. They then took up the offer of free advocacy education sessions for both consumers and staff.

Go to top

 

 

Value of networking

An advocate was invited to set up a display at a "Seniors' Health Expo."  In an effort to attract people to the display, the advocate laminated slides from the presentation "Being an Active Participant in your own Health Care", to put on a display board. They looked very effective and made an attractive backdrop to the pamphlets and handouts on the table.

The Expo also proved to be an effective way for the participating groups to get to know one another, providing an opportunity to share information with each other about their respective roles. This resulted in the advocate getting several enquiries about staff training as well as information about new networks.  The advocate gave out many business cards and soon after was pleased to receive an invitation from a practice manager at a rural medical centre to attend their monthly practice meeting to talk about the Code of Rights and the role of an advocate. 

This session was attended by all of the registered nurses and administration staff, including two who came in from annual leave. The advocate considered her participation in the Expo had been worthwhile as a very effective way of networking.

Go to top

 

 

First visit to residential facility

An advocate phoned the manager of a residential facility to introduce herself and her role and to arrange a date to make her first visit. When she arrived, three managers were there to greet her and it quickly became obvious they were apprehensive about the visit.

As a result of experience and confidence in what she had to say the advocate was able to put them at ease very quickly, and she was booked for education sessions with both consumers and staff.

Go to top

 

 

Complaint results in strengthened networks

The consumer had attempted self advocacy by writing and speaking with a specialist who they felt had not spoken or treated them well. The consumer felt their concerns were not being listened to and approached the Brain Injury Association for support to write to the Health and Disability Commissioner. The Brain Injury Fieldworker referred the consumer to the local advocate, who met with them, explained her role and the options available. The consumer wished to write to the Commissioner so the advocate and consumer worked together to send the complaint to the Commissioner's office.

As a result of this joint action, the consumer invited the advocate to come to the Rural Resource Centre where they worked and to provide the centre with information about consumer rights and the role of the advocate.  During this visit the consumer told the advocate about a network group that met in the local area every two months that would benefit from having the advocate attend.

The consumer suggested this to the co-ordinator of the network and the advocate was invited along to the next meeting. Attendance at that meeting resulted in the advocate being invited back to provide information on advocacy and the code of rights at a future meeting.

Go to top

 

 

Familiarity through networking assists consumers open up

An advocate was invited to attend an activity centre to provide an education session for a group with dual diagnosis.

There was effective interaction between the residents and great interest shown in the discussion. The consumers were very clear that they were happy with their current provider but were open and honest about past experiences and challenges they face with getting appointments. The session was very interactive and the group showed a level of trust in their discussions which has come about as a result of regular similar sessions.

Those who had current concerns were encouraged to discuss these with the advocate outside of the education forum.

Go to top

 

 

Networking with a Health Provider leads to Education

An advocate spoke to a health provider at a DHB about general issues that refugee and some migrant communities face in NZ, such as culture, discrimination, communication, consent, family relationships. The advocate linked each of these to the Code.

Following their conversation the advocate was invited to provide three education sessions in other departments who in turn referred her to other hospital departments.

Go to top

 

 

Opportunity for training on the Code

Prompted by the mention of the Code of Rights poster that had been put up the year before, the manager of a service mentioned to an advocate that she was president of a nationwide organisation. This led to a conversation about how the Advocacy service and the Code could be promoted to the membership groups using local advocates.  They worked on a strategy that would see Advocacy providing both local and regional training packages.

Go to top

 

 

Assistance for social worker

Complex disability ~ Social worker ~ Service coordination ~ Cooperation between providers ~ Advocate mentor

During a network meeting an advocate was approached by a social worker regarding a consumer he was working with who had multiple chronic conditions, and was involved with a number of providers and community support agencies.

The social worker expressed concern about the lack of cooperation between the providers and the difficulties this created for the consumer.  

The advocate provided information to the social worker on Rights in the Code that could help the situation, and was available in a mentoring role when contacted by the social worker as further issues arose.

Go to top

 


Establishing a network of local advocates

Assertive networking ~ Service improvement ~ Shared learning ~ Local advocates ~ Reflection

The local health and disability advocates had been fielding requests for training and support from other advocates working with local community agencies.

A meeting was organised with four key advocates working in agencies who believed the standard of advocacy practice could improve if there was appropriate training and support. These advocates expressed concern about the quality of the advocacy they saw being practiced by colleagues in the community and that it was based on confrontation. The group believed the solution lay with the local advocates and that change would occur if various alternative approaches to advocacy were demonstrated. The group called a meeting, advertising it as a lunchtime event at a local church hall.

The opportunity to meet was greeted with enthusiasm and a large number of advocates turned up on the day. Following a brief introduction about the purpose of the meeting the local health and disability advocate presented an overview of the consumer-driven, strengths-based empowerment model of advocacy that the health and disability advocacy service use, including the outcomes for consumers.

The proposal from the meeting was to setup a network, called a forum. Those present agreed to meet bi-monthly to reflect on the various approaches to advocacy that were being used.

After two years the meetings still continue. They cover health, education, welfare, housing and income. The local health and disability advocate only attends sporadically as is often out of the city when the meetings are held. The network continues to provide an opportunity for reflection, learning and sharing in a way that helps consumers to receive a more effective service.

Go to top

 

 

Networking Chatham Islands Style

Network development ~ Chatham Islands ~ Remote location ~ Local contacts

Networking on an offshore island can be a challenge particularly when the island is not easily accessed. Being an annual and expensive trip it requires careful preparation by the advocate. Over and above getting there, sorting out where to stay, setting up meetings and knowing where to advertise the coming visit, she had to ensure that when she got there she would be accepted by the islanders, and that they would be interested in her message.

The advocate started with her own personal networks, phoning all the people she knew on the island asking for their assistance and advice. Some of these people set up meetings for the advocate to meet and greet the locals. The local newspaper inserted an article on the service and advertised the pending visit. The hospital was contacted and arrangements to meet key personnel were scheduled.

Once on the Island the advocate visited as many of the local people as she could so she would be well known and remembered as the person to contact on the mainland. She searched out key people who would further facilitate access to local groups. She listened to consumer issues; assisting them to take up these issues in ways that could bring about changes to health and disability services. 

Go to top

 

Networking in residential homes

Assertive networking ~ Residential disability home ~ Tailored message ~ Respectful contact

Residential homes for those with significant impairments have their own culture and power structures. The residents tend not to accept outsiders unless they are people they believe they can trust and feel safe to speak with.

When the health and disability advocate first visited a small community house of five people, an arrangement to visit was made in advance.  On arrival, the advocate acknowledged the staff, and sought their assistance to greet each of the residents individually using first names, taking an opportunity to express interest in each person and discussing something of specific interest to them.  This also involved accepting a cup of tea as a sign of hospitality.

The next time the advocate returned, it was timely so the residents could remember the previous visit. More information was shared which helped establish a relationship with each of the residents. The advocate was gradually absorbed into the network of the house as someone who is safe to speak to. In the meantime the link with the staff was strengthened so they in turn would support each resident having links with the advocate.

Go to top

 

Using the CAB as an established information hub

Strategic networking ~ CAB ~ Information resource ~ Training volunteers  ~ Regular contact

Recognising the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) as a key information hub in the local town, the local health and disability advocate sought out an opportunity to be included in the information resource provided by the local CAB volunteers. Having visited the local CAB offices the advocate sought out the name and location of the regional trainers and arranged to attend their next meeting to describe the role of the advocate and how to contact an advocate.

The advocate keeps in regular contact with the CAB offices, dropping in to check there are leaflets available, and to talk over any issues the staff have. The CAB continues to refer a steady number of consumers to the advocacy service. 

Go to top

 

Working within a local interest focused network

Strategic networking ~ Alcohol and drug workers ~ Established network ~ Highlighting rights

The workers in the local alcohol and drug services have a well established network of people and agencies who meet on a regular basis to share information, changes in service and generally to support each other. It is a long meeting but every person attending has an opportunity to share information and to raise issues.

The local health and disability advocate attends and uses this opportunity to be proactive in raising consumer rights issues, as well as responding to questions and observations made by other attendees. It is an opportunity to harness local commitment to the promotion of consumer rights, and for the workers to remind consumers experiencing difficulties of the existence of the advocates.

Page Section: Right Content Column