28 Sep “Advocacy kept me going”
Today we hear from Helen Vernon, advocate at programme partner Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre about Peter, one of the older people affected by cancer she has supported:
Peter referred himself to the Cancer Older People and Advocacy project after a diagnosis of cancer in June 2015. He had recently been told he was palliative. He had spent 16 months in hospital with a collapsed lung. Peter had moved in 2014 but regretted the decision due to some issues with the housing association.
Peter had discovered that there was an electrical cupboard/water tank next to his flat. His bedroom wall was on the other side of this cupboard and he found his sleep was severely disturbed. We looked into the option of rehousing but Peter felt that since his diagnosis was terminal he didn’t want to spend the time he had left on a waiting list or moving house. Instead we asked that remedial work be carried out to alleviate the problem.
I negotiated with the housing association who had put in a request for the job to be completed, but it had been delayed because a surveyor hadn’t been to the flat. The housing association actioned the job immediately. I then continued to liaise with the housing association to make sure the job took place and that Peter was satisfied.
In addition to this I contacted the Department of Work and Pensions to ensure that Attendance Allowance had been started and I explained to him when the payments would take place.
Peter’s family all live abroad and he felt strongly that they should be allowed to live their lives without worrying about him. He spoke to me at length about his life and his feelings about the cancer.
When the case was closed I asked Peter what he had thought about the advocacy process. He said “(Advocacy) gave me a lot of hope that things would improve and they did improve, it (advocacy) kept me going”.
I recently contacted Peter again and he has asked me to revisit him as there are now some issues around his hospital care. He would like me to write to the hospital on his behalf and to attend appointments with him. A new case will bring new challenges as his health is declining, but with advocacy support Peter’s wishes will be represented and his voice heard.
Helen Vernon, advocate, Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre