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I’ve Got Your Back – Role of Advocacy

I’ve Got Your Back – Role of Advocacy

It was in the news again – the heart-breaking story of vulnerable loved ones receiving neglectful and sub-standard care. Frightened and angry family and friends came together to reveal problems and demand change.   Perhaps a related story has happened within your family or circle of friends.  Perhaps you found yourself speaking on behalf of someone else. It is called Advocacy. Although there are a variety of definitions of the term ‘advocacy,’ we can recognize common themes of taking action for a particular cause or policy on behalf of someone else. Advocacy is necessary at both systems (regional, provincial/state, federal) and individual/family levels.   WHY? Increasingly, our systems, especially our health and social services, have become inordinately complex. Under-resourcing leads to ‘rationing’ of services, and staff reductions can create increased risk of error.  As resources decrease, the quality of communication tends to deteriorate, resulting in too many gaps open to misinterpretation.   HOW? The process of Advocacy includes 3 main elements: Communication Follow-up Action   1. Let’s First Look at How to Communicate: • Clearly – state what you want to happen • Accurately – get the facts straight and avoid editorializing • Concisely – present the case — lengthy dissertations are not read/listened to – use point form! • Persuasively – keep argument sound, logical, objective and respectful 2. A Critical Second Step is Follow-up: • Within reasonable time — sooner rather than later, and don’t lose your momentum • Convey – when a response is expected • Persist – confirm that stalling, ignoring is unacceptable   3. Finally, Take Action — Nothing Happens Until Something Moves:   • Consider all available options based on input...