The HSE’s Office of Advocacy Services established a Forum on Services for Older People in 2007 which considers a formal advocacy structure to support older people in residential care to be a key priority. Older people and their families asked for a system where they could access information about all of the Nursing Homes and Community Units in their area. To address this deficit the Forum devised a website http://www.myhomefromhome.ie/ which recently went live and is continually being updated and populated as Nursing Homes join the site. The site is a resource for people wishing to select a nursing home to suit their needs while the Nursing Home Support Scheme will advise on financial support available.
NAPA working with Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) are currently populating this site http://www.nhi.ie/iopen24/
An alliance for older people
The Forum has established the National Advocacy Programme Alliance comprising a number of key agencies to implement an overall advocacy programme.
The Alliance is developing the following three projects:
- Provision of an independent website for older people and their families to support them in selecting a nursing home to suit their needs.
- Provision of an independent representative advocacy service to older people already in residential care.
- Provision of values training in “Personal Excellence” for the staff.
The principles underpinning the projects are empowerment of the older person, respect for their wishes, protection of rights, acting in the person’s best interest, acting independently, maintaining confidentiality and acting with diligence and competence.
The programme is based on the premise that services for older people should be joined-up, user friendly and customer focussed. Advocacy has an important role to play in supporting these services to meet the needs of individual clients but particularly those who are vulnerable. The development of this initiative is timely given the introduction of the HIQA Standards for Older People in long term residential care in 2009.