Guidance for Unpaid Carer Advocacy in Scotland

This document, endorsed by Scottish Government and COSLA provides guidance for advocacy professionals who are interested in or are currently undertaking advocacy work with unpaid carers in Scotland.

Benefits of having an advocate

An advocate can:

  • ensure the carer's rights are upheld
  • help carers to access early-intervention support to prevent crisis
  • get the carers' voice heard when dealing with professionals and others. They can do this by giving the carer clarity and confidence in relation to their rights and choices
  • speak on behalf of the carer or support the carer to get their voice heard, in writing or in person
  • offer the carer independence and trust as the advocate is wholly on the side of the carer with the sole focus on getting the carer's views heard
  • represent the carer as a distinct voice from the person being cared for
  • help the carer navigate 'the system' by finding the right person for the carer to present their views to
  • support a carer in meetings and clarify the carers' needs to professionals
  • explain to the carer the reasons around professionals' decision making
  • help translate jargon and terminology used by professionals

Case study

Janet cares for her husband, Phil, who has early onset dementia. She had found it difficult at times to get help such as additional hours of day care and occasional short breaks. Her health was suffering and she was concerned that her ability to continue to care for Phil was being affected by her worsening health and levels of stress.

Her friend told her about the local advocacy service that provides advocacy for carers. Janet contacted them and met with Sue, an advocate.

Sue now goes to meetings with Janet and with her support Janet has been able to access more support to care for Phil. Janet feels that the additional hours of day care and short breaks have led to a reduction in her levels of stress and believes that she will be able to maintain her caring role. Janet is now able to spend time with family and friends and to enjoy time in her garden.[5]


Email: Peggy Winford

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