Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need. Advocates and advocacy schemes work in partnership with the people they support and take their side. Advocacy promotes social inclusion, equality and social justice. Anyone can access an advocate for extra support at any time. They can call directly. Below you will find organisations locally and nationally who provide this service.
Advocacy means having someone who will express your views and wishes, secure your rights and represent your interests. It safeguards people who are vulnerable by speaking up for them. It enables people with physical or learning disabilities, older people and those with mental health needs to make informed choices and decisions about their own health and social care.
Advocacy helps you to access information and services and to explore choices and options. Advocacy is completely independent from the organisations that provide social care services. Advocates act only according to the wishes of the person they are speaking for. They do not take their own view of what is best, or try to influence the person to make a different choice.
From April 2015, care and support in England is changing for the better. The new Care Act will help make care and support more consistent across the country.
‘Care and support’ is the term we use to describe the help some adults need to live as well as possible with any illness or disability they may have. It can include help with things like washing, dressing, eating, getting out and about and keeping in touch with friends or family.
If you receive care and support, or you support someone as a carer, you could benefit from the changes.
What is advocacy?
Advocacy is helpful for people who find it hard to make decisions about the care and support they need. An advocate is a person who works with you to make sure that your ideas and wishes are heard and that you get the right care and support for you.
Who is advocacy for?
Advocacy is useful for:
- children and young adults
- an adult whose care and support needs are being assessed or reviewed
- a carer whose needs are being assessed
- people who are being assessed during a safeguarding enquiry.
How do I get advocacy?
focus independent adult social work must always make sure that you are involved in the decisions made about your care and support.
If you (or someone you care for) finds it hard to:
- understand and remember important information
- use that information in daily life or
- express views, wishes or feelings
then focus must offer you an advocate to help you get the support and care you want and need.
Tell me more about how an advocate can help me
Advocates are independent from the council, the NHS, your doctor, focus independent adult social work and other healthcare services. Your advocate will get to know you so they can support and represent you when decisions are made about your care. Your advocate will make sure that your wellbeing and interests are always carefully considered.
Your advocate will help you to:
- understand the care and support process
- talk about your wishes, views and feelings
- make decisions
- challenge council decisions about your care and support if you don’t agree with them
- understand your rights
- support you in the safeguarding process, if necessary.
Locally, focus independent social work offer a specialist assessment and support for individuals with a sensory impairment. If you live within the North East Lincolnshire please contact the Single Point of Access on 01472 256256 or access our Facebook page.
This page provides information on sight and hearing impairment. The two have been discussed separately however you may have both conditions at the same time. This is often known as ‘Deafblind’ or ‘Dual sensory loss’. Information on combined hearing and sight loss can be found on the following websites:
People with a sensory impairment may be entitled to obtain specific benefits.
Please contact the local benefits advisory centres for further benefits related information:
- Centre4: 01472 236675
- Citizens Advice: 01472 252500
You may be eligible for concessionary bus travel, these passes are available from;
Centre4, Wootton Road, Grimsby, DN33 1HE.
Open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
Tel: 01472 236688
Age UK, 20 Wardle Street, Cleethorpes, DN35 8HA.
Open 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday
Tel: 01472 344976
Grimsby Central Library, Town Hall Square, Grimsby,
Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm.
Tel: 01472 323600
Getting a diagnosis of sight impairment
If you are having a problem with your sight the first thing to do is see an optician. The optician can check your eyes and if needed they will refer you to an eye clinic at your local hospital to see an eye specialist (ophthalmologist).
Getting support for sight impairment
Being diagnosed as blind or partially sighted is likely to require some adjustments. If you are referred to an eye clinic the staff there can help you come to terms with your diagnosis, to understand your condition, and to advise you on further sources of support. You may require an assessment to determine whether any low vision aids would be of benefit to you. This assessment will take place in your own home, please contact the Single Point of Access on 01472 256256 to discuss this.
For more information about sight loss please see the RNIB website.
Further information sources and support can be found below:
- Lincoln & Lindsey Blind Society Sight Impairment Officers provide support, information and advice, including helping with claiming various financial benefits. There is a Sight Impairment Officer for NE Lincs. They also provide a range of other services such as training to use IT and voice activated software, and befriending.
- Royal National Institute of Blind people is the UKs leading charity for people with vision loss. They:
- hold face to face or telephone groups for adults dealing with low vision or vision loss
- run a helpline (03031239999)
- offer advice on charities and support groups to help you or someone you know.
- Run a lending library for people with a visual impairment, where you can borrow books in a range of formats such as talking books, braille, or giant print.
- Macular Society provide information leaflets for patients with sight loss, hold support groups and run an Advice and Information Service (call 03003030111).
- International Glaucoma Society run a support and advice helpline for Glaucoma patients.
- Retina UK (formerly ‘Fighting Blindness’) provide information
- Diabetes UK have information on eye problems associated with diabetes.
- Blind Veterans supports people who have sight loss following serving in the Armed Forces or after doing National Service
- Guide Dogs offer a lot of support for those with vision impairment.
Living independently at home with sight impairment
Most people with sight loss can continue to live at home but there are changes which can be made to help you live more independently. For example, the way your house is painted can make it easier to find your way around, and having bright lighting (such as fluorescent light bulbs) is essential. Big button telephones (both landlines and mobiles), big button keyboards, screen display software and text readers are available from the RNIB.
You may also find telecare helpful - small wearable devices are available, containing an alarm button, which if pressed, sends an alarm signal to a response centre, who will alert a nominated friend or carer.
Reading, writing, and using the computer with sight impairment
If you have difficulties reading standard text, a simple option is to use a magnifying device. For information on alternative ways of reading please see the RNIB website. Large print publications, audio books, and talking newspapers are available from the following organisations:
- Calibre audio library provides audio books for adults and children with sight problems.
- Talking newspapers can help you find your local talking newspaper.
- RNIB library service can provide you with talking books, and books in braille and giant print.
You may also decide to learn to read Braille and Moon. These are tactile codes which enable you to read by touch.
Getting around with sight impairment
If you have sight loss there are several methods which can help you get around independently.
- Long canes can help you identify objects in your path, allowing you to get around and also making others aware that you have sight loss. Training courses on using a long cane are available and further details can be provided by the Single Point of Access on 01472 256256 the RNIB or Guide Dogs.
- Guide dogs can help you get around and provide a companion. A guide dog and all the essential equipment can be provided by the charity Guide Dog. Information about this can be found here.
- Global positioning system (GPS) can help you navigate your way around by using satellite signals to tell you where you are and give you directions. There are a number of GPS apps that can be downloaded onto a smartphone, and the RNIB website has more information about technology and products for people with sight loss, including GPS.
- Driving: GOV.UK has information about driving with a disability or a health condition. You have a legal obligation to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if you are diagnosed with a sight condition.
If you're registered as having a sight impairment, the DVLA will assume your driving licence is no longer valid and you'll no longer be able to drive. For people with mild vision impairment, exceptions are occasionally made and this requires a doctor to fill in a DVLA medical information questionnaire (PDF, 265kb).
- Sight Guide: For information on training for a loved one to act as your Sighted Guide to help you get around, or to be partnered with a volunteer Sighted Guide, please see the Guide Dogs website.
Employment for people who are sight impaired
If you are visually impaired and are currently employed, you may require equipment and adjustments to help you do your job. Advice and support on this, as well as financial assistance, is available by contacting the Single Point of Access on 01472 256256 or Access to Work scheme run by the Jobcentre.
Advice and support for people with visual impairment who are looking for work is available from the following organisations:
If you feel you've been turned down for a job which you were capable of doing, because of your disability, you can make a complaint under the Equality Act 2010. To find out more about your legal rights and how to challenge discrimination, please see the RNIB website.
Some people with a visual impairment decide to become self-employed, often because it allows them the flexibility to work at home for hours they choose.
More information about work and employment for those with visual impairment can be found on the RNIB website.
Registering as visually impaired
You may decide to register as visually impaired if your sight has deteriorated to a certain level, and this can entitle you to a range of financial benefits, making life more affordable.
In North East Lincolnshire, to apply for a disability registration card for a visual impairment, a Consultant Ophthalmologist must confirm that you have a visual condition that can be classified as either “sight impaired” or “severely sight impaired”. Notification from the consultant is automatically sent to focus. Upon receipt of this notification you will be contacted by a sensory impairment officer to discuss your care and support requirements.
Further information is available on the following websites:
Getting a diagnosis of hearing loss
Hearing loss can happen suddenly, and if you or someone you care for suddenly lose hearing in 1 or both ears, call your GP or NHS 111 as soon as possible.
It is also common for hearing to gradually decline as you get older, so it is not always easy to recognise. You can read about the signs and symptoms of hearing loss on the NHS website.
There are many different causes of hearing loss. For information on some possible causes, and advice on when to seek medical help, please visit the NHS website.
The NHS website also provides some simple tips on how to protect your hearing.
If you think you may have hearing loss, the NHS provides simple information on how you can get a hearing test.
Treatment for hearing loss
Hearing loss can be temporary and get better on its own or with a simple procedure. However it may also be permanent, and in this case there are treatments available to help you make the most out of your remaining hearing. This includes hearing aids, implants, or different ways of communicating such as sign language. You can read about the possible treatments for hearing loss here.
If diagnosed with a hearing impairment, you should visit your hearing specialist routinely to assess changes in your hearing and review the best treatment options.
Getting information on/learning more about hearing loss
You may require an assessment to identify whether any equipment would benefit you, please contact the Single Point of Access on 01472 256256. Many organisations exist which can help you come to terms with a diagnosis of hearing loss and understand more about your condition:
- British Deaf Association (BDA) is the UK’s leading organisation and registered charity run by deaf people for people.
- Action on Hearing Loss has a variety of information around hearing loss.
- Hearing Link is another national charity providing information, advice and support around hearing loss.
- British Tinnitus Association provides advice, support, and information for people with tinnitus in the UK.
- Meniere’s Society is a national charity which provides support and information for people affected by vestibular (inner ear) disorders.
- BT Including You have a variety of information on hearing loss, sight loss, and speech and language difficulties.
- Deafplus is a national British sign language money advice helpline, using FaceTime or Skype to communicate.
- Next Generation Text Service (NGTS) help people with hearing and speech difficulties to communicate with anyone by phone using the relay service.
- CELST provide lip reading courses and support for adults with hearing loss in the Central England area.
- National Deaf Children’s Society provides support for families of children and young people who are deaf.
Registering with hearing loss
To register a hearing impairment, confirmation is required from the audiology department following an audiogram. Once you have visited the audiology department, please contact the Single Point of Access on 01472 256256 to commence the registration process.
What does this mean?
When a young person reaches 18 the responsibility for providing social care support transfers from Children's Services to Adult Social Care. A transition into adulthood plan should be made before the young person's 18thbirthday to reflect their needs for education, training, leisure and employment. This should also include social care needs to enable them to pursue their goals and to live as independently as possible. When a young person reaches adulthood the services provided may change. This could mean that they are no longer eligible for the same services, or that different services are needed to support their carer.
Who can get this support?
When a young person with a physical or learning disability, or long term condition becomes 18 and needs practical help, they can ask us to look at their social care needs as an adult. In order to work out just what these needs are, we will need to carry out an assessment. This assessment is a thorough discussion with the young person and with parents or carers. This may also involve gathering information from other professionals who work with them and know their situation well. You can find more information about an Assessment in our 'Living at home now & in the future section'.
How much does it cost?
You should be aware that some adult services may have to be paid for, but the actual amount you pay will depend on what services you receive. You may be able to get help with the costs and we will help you fill out a financial assessment form to see if you qualify for financial help. We may arrange services for you but there are other ways of getting the support you need. You can choose to have a Personal Budget and use the money you receive from us to arrange your own support. For more information on Personal Budgets, please see our 'Living at home now & in the future section'.
The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is an opportunity for you to let us know what it’s like to receive NHS services as a patient, relative or friend. It offers you the chance to provide comments, compliments or raise concerns about the services you have received and helps the Trust to ensure that high quality, responsive services are available.
PALS is a free, confidential service available to offer help, advice and information on NHS services and is designed to help patients, carers and staff get the best out of what the NHS has to offer.
North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has a dedicated PALS team dealing with matters relating to Primary Care Services in the local area. These include those NHS services offered from your GP Practice, Dental Surgery, Pharmacies (chemists) and Opticians and all Adult Social Care Services.