“When I am ill, I am not quite me, I do not want to speak, I want to be left alone, my carers think I am being difficult but this is how I deal with my illness. How can I convey this to my carers?” Diane
Answer: through an Advance Statement
What is an Advance Statement?
It is a contingency plan or a wish list that a service user writes when they are feeling well in the event of them not being well. It should cover what they would like to happen concerning their wellbeing and lists their choice in care and treatment. It can let staff know what care needs/medications work for them and which one’s don’t. It can also let staff know about any physical needs or disabilities they have ensuring these needs are met. It can help in planning things to run smoothly whilst they are ill e.g. who is taking care of the children, bills, pets etc.
What an Advance Statement cannot do for the service user:
It cannot ensure they get their preferred treatment, as it is not legally binding. It cannot stop them from being treated against their will if they are sectioned under the mental health act.
It is all about Choice:
It gives the service user more control in their recovery, making sure their choices over childcare, pet care, bills etc are know and so elevating any unnecessary worrying.
Choice is a key reoccurring theme that runs through the discussions we have at the Service User Network (SUN) which meet every month on the first Wednesday afternoon of the month, at St Chads Community Centre, Headingley. Service users are encouraged to give their observation on services/care and these are addressed at the clinical governance group. They are given the choice to contribute by having their say on how things are done. This has resulted in changes in care delivery .e.g. Care Programme Approach. So choices and using your voice can influence the services you receive which will also directly affect service user’s recovery.
Where can you get an Advance Statement?
Easy, there is a template at: www.leedsandyorkpft.nhs.uk/service_users/Advancedstatements with guidance notes.
The service user’s psychiatrist, care co-ordinator, health support worker, or occupational therapist can help them fill in the form. It is a good idea to discuss it with their friends and family as they might have advice which could help their plan. It doesn’t have to be written on an official Advanced Statement document for it to be valid but you need your family, friends and care worker to know about it and the Trust can hold a copy which should be reviewed every year.
How many advance statements are we aware of within the Trust?
There are 57, which is not enough when you consider that approximately 20,000 people use Trust services.
What can we do to help promote advance statements?
Make sure people are aware of them and encourage the use of them throughout the Trust.
If YOU were given a choice in care, wouldn’t you want to take up that choice?
Of course you would, so please help promote Advanced Statements now.
Written by Anne Perry, Recovery & Social Inclusion Team
If you require further information about Advance Statements, then please contact Beverley Thornton on 0113 3056755/58 or email firstname.lastname@example.org