Vulnerable adults urged to share their care experiences

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WOLVERHAMPTON’S Health watchdog is urging adults classed as ‘vulnerable’ and their carers to speak out as part of an important new citywide project.

The problem of vulnerable adults whose needs and voices can sometimes go unheard has been highlighted as an issue that health professionals in Wolverhampton want to tackle.

Healthwatch Wolverhampton is carrying out a survey of vulnerable adults and carers in their ‘Making Safeguarding Personal’ campaign, as the first step towards giving them a louder and more active voice within the community.

Adults who could be classed as vulnerable include disabled people, elderly people in care settings, people with substance misuse issues, people with mental health needs, victims of domestic violence and many other individuals.

Once the survey has been collated, the Healthwatch team, based at Regent House, Bath Avenue, aims to set up a new advisory panel to give vulnerable adults a say when it comes to policies and plans that directly affect them. The panel will also highlight issues across the city that they believe should be on the social care radar.

They are keen to hear from anyone who has been through the social services system to raise issues of abuse or neglect to themselves or an adult they know of, or care for.

Researcher in charge of Healthwatch Wolverhampton’s ‘Making Safeguarding Personal’ project, Sam Hicks explained: “All organisations in Wolverhampton are committed to keeping adults safe from abuse or neglect, particularly those in need of care and support, and promoting their well-being. This is known as ‘Adult Safeguarding’.

“‘The local Safeguarding Adults Board aims to ensure that adults with care and support needs are treated fairly, able to protect themselves, or be protected from abuse and neglect. They have commissioned us to carry out the ‘Making Safeguarding Personal’ project to uncover vulnerable peoples’ stories to understand how well social care professionals are performing.

“We want to give a stronger voice to vulnerable people and their carers and ensure they have the opportunity to speak out and influence the agenda, so we envisage the new group will meet on a regular basis to advise and alert the Board to issues that they believe are priorities in our community.

“While Health and Social care professionals are highly trained and work very hard to give the best life outcomes for everyone, they cannot truly visualise what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a vulnerable person or their carers.

“So, by giving a voice to a diverse range of people we can make sure we provide services that respond honestly and honourably to help the local community.  Giving a place at the decision-making table to those who often go unheard will be a great step forward for everyone.

“We want to hear both the good and bad experiences of vulnerable adults and their carers – and hear whether they are happy with the way the service responds to their problems.”

People can get in touch in a variety ways, whichever they are most comfortable with: they can call the Freephone number on 0800 470 1944, ask to talk to Sam or leave their number for Sam to call them back, email their contact details and experiences to sam.hicks@healthwatchwolverhampton.co.uk, visit Healthwatch Wolverhampton’s offices in Regent House, Bath Avenue, WV1 4EG and chat to a member of the team.

Alternatively, if you wish to remain anonymous but have your say, you can go online atwww.healthwatchwolverhampton.co.uk and leave feedback at the Experience Exchange.

The deadline for responding to Healthwatch Wolverhampton’s survey is Friday December 8th.  Anyone interested can contact Sam Hicks.

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