After a fall, Ava was admitted to hospital. At 83 years old she had previously been living independently at home with some family support. The ward was in need of Ava’s bed, and it was felt she should be discharged. Due to substantial disagreements between members of her family over what should happen, her care team were concerned that Ava’s voice had been lost. Therefore, a referral was made for an advocate to help Ava to consider her options and make a decision.
The advocate helped Ava identify what was of greatest importance in her life. She wanted to remain at home, but felt pressured by her children to move to a residential environment, so had become worried about upsetting and becoming a burden to her family. The advocate had discussions with Ava about different types of available care she could receive at her home, including direct payments and grants that could help to adapt her house. The advocate helped Ava to plan a letter to her children that addressed her current feelings and concerns. Despite initial challenges, the family ultimately were supportive of Ava’s wishes, including that to live at home. The family’s chief concern had been Ava’s safety, but the advocate helped Ava express that she understood and was prepared to take these risks if it meant staying in her house.
Ava later wrote to Swan advocacy, detailing that: “my advocate was the only person listening to what was important to me – and not just looking at what they thought was best for me – I felt pressured by my family and the ward staff to make a decision without fully understanding the choices I had – my advocate gave me the opportunity to make up my own mind”.
Names and pictures have been changed