Advocacy Centre North is part of Newcastle Council For Voluntary Service

Embracing technology with DIY Advocate

22 October 2018

 

Embracing technology with DIY Advocate

 

We are looking at how technology has helped us to deliver an improved service to our clients using DIY Advocate

DIY Advocate is our unique decision making app that helps our advocates to save time, make meetings more efficient and improve case load management. Perhaps more importantly, DIY Advocate helps our service users to access support and resources instantly, take control, receive help with making decisions and communicate problems easily. 

Daria’s story: a helping hand 24 hours a day

Daria, originally from Poland, has lived in the UK for six years. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and mental health difficulties, and relies on help from health and social care services. Faced with a complex system of benefits, support services, and a language barrier, Daria initially found the process of getting help very difficult.

A friend recommended Advocacy Centre North (ACN) to Daria where she was matched with an advocate that specialises in working with black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups. With the help of her advocate, Daria successfully learned about disability rights, applied for benefits and had her flat adapted to make it more accessible.

Daria was then introduced DIY Advocate - an app for people transitioning out of advocacy services

DIY Advocate enables people to articulate their situation or problem and identify possible solutions by answering a series of simple questions. The content is used to formulate an action report which can be saved, as a record of the suggested resources and services, or sent to a service or support worker, to communicate the person’s perspective and wishes.

As Daria is more confident using written English than spoken, the app suited her very well. It has helped her resolves issues that would previously have required the support of her personal advocate.
After a care assessment, Daria was concerned about an administration fee she was advised she would have to pay to have a carer. Daria used DIY Advocate to articulate the problems she would have in paying this fee and to find information that supported her case. This gave her the confidence to pursue the issue and work with social services to resolve it.

Following the sudden death of her mother, Daria began to consider what would happen in the event of her own death. She explains,

“I and my family had known my mother’s wishes on her funeral service. But despite the hope that I will live a long time, I realised that none of my relatives know what my opinion is about how I would like to be treated at the end of my life.”

Daria has used her app to find information, and to create an action plan, which includes preparing official documents and telling her family in Poland what they contain.

“DIY Advocate App helped me to cut off the stress associated with the fact that, in the event of an emergency situation; I am not prepared for it."

Shervin Nouri, who was Daria’s advocate at ACN, believes the app is empowering people who previously relied on their services. She says,

“We are here to give people more confidence, and the app is that extra bit of help to enable them to self-advocate. It is efficient and available 24 hours, we know people like it because we have started to receive less ‘simple questions’ – they can find this information quickly and whenever they want using the app."

“People leave our services when they have more confidence and can be independent, but the app means that they are not alone.”