CVP Services – Advocacy
Sometimes, a person who is receiving treatment believes that issues of significance to him or her are not receiving adequate attention from staff. Worrying about personal issues may have a considerable impact on the quality of the consumer’s stay in hospital or their experience of treatment, and the CVP therefore sees its advocacy role as extremely important.
The community visitor will work with the consumer to decide the best way forward. This may involve the consumer speaking to staff with or without the community visitor present, or the community visitor speaking to staff on the consumer’s behalf. It is useful to talk to staff immediately because it may be that they are already trying to address the issue, and finding this out is reassuring for the consumer. The community visitor will remain involved until the issue is resolved.
The Community Visitor Program also has a systems advocacy role. If a complaint or series of complaints indicates that there may be a broader problem, community visitors will report this to the Principal Community Visitor. The Principal Community Visitor may then refer the matter to a community visitors panel for further investigation. If the panel determines there is a problem that should be rectified, they will raise this with management of the service to determine the most appropriate resolution. If the issue is not resolved, the panel may then make a recommendation to the service.
Examples of issues that have been referred to a community visitors panel for investigation include concerns about the way some voluntary admissions are managed and concerns about inpatient services for adolescents in Darwin and Alice Springs.