'Not a stranger, but a supporter' - volunteer Sylvia
One of Shropshire RCC’s projects involves recruiting volunteers to act as a personal advocate on behalf of people in care homes or hospitals who lack capacity under the Mental Capacity Act and who are being “deprived of their liberty”.
Everyone who is deprived of liberty must have someone appointed to act as their representative. Our volunteers visit and speak on behalf of the relevant person when there are no family members or friends to carry out this role.
These people may be living with dementia, learning disabilities, have a mental health illness or be receiving end of life care - and often the person has multiple needs.
Sylvia is a retired nurse who has volunteered as a DoLs personal advocate for Shropshire RCC for two years. She’s shared with us what volunteering for DoLs means for her.
Why did you decide to volunteer?
I am interested in people and how they are cared for, particularly in Shropshire, because that is where I live. I saw the advert and thought I might be capable of contributing - I have been involved in healthcare most of my life.
What was it about the DoLs volunteering opportunity that appealed to you?
From the little I knew of the Government’s legislation, I felt I wanted to learn more about the subject, understand more, and how volunteers could assist in this area. Having the flexibility to undertake the role in one’s own time, and being able to undertake the task locally to where I live was also a great attraction.
What is the most challenging part of your volunteering role?
Really understanding the circumstances of each individual, and actually communicating with them, ensuring that they understand that you are there for their “best interests”, not a stranger but a supporter. Ensuring the homes recognise you as a colleague who enhances the care and support for a particular individual.
Why should people volunteer for the DoLs project?
It’s a fascinating role; it’s a vital supporting role within the DoLs team. One meets like- minded individuals when the volunteers meet up, have a laugh, and, most importantly, it is an essential role for the individuals who require the visits, and our support.
To find out more about becoming a DoLs volunteer, contact Lisa White on 01743 342162 / Lisa.White@shropshire-rcc.org.uk
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