My experience of seAp
Having previously worked as an advocate I started at seAp believing I understood advocacy, I was quickly disabused of this fact recognising that my previous practice had been based on best interests rather than the person centred approach adopted by the project. What was a revelation to me was the time and dedication each team put in to ensure they were following each persons wishes. They did this either through direction from IMHA and Health Complaints, or, by seeking out information to stand in for someone lacking capacity in order to better understand what their wishes might be, the IMCA. They took themselves totally out of the equation and looked solely at what the person in front of them required and supported them to achieve that. In order to do this they not only engaged the person within the process but also gave them some control back. The greatest gift was that they truly listened to that person, a sentiment that was constantly reflected back, as that person not only felt heard but also valued, which was an immensely empowering experience. My lasting impression of all the teams I worked with is that they are truly dedicated professionals, whose passion was to ensure that the person being talked about remained not only central to, but part of the decision making process, and that their needs, wishes and feelings continually informed it.
Nuala Sharkey - MA Social Work Student (placement)