Quality statement 1: Access to independent advocacy services

Quality statement

People admitted to an inpatient mental health setting have access to independent advocacy services.

Rationale

Having an advocate helps people to make their views and wishes heard. It is important that people are told about independent advocacy services on admission to an inpatient mental health setting, and can access them throughout their stay, so that they can be involved in decisions about their care.

Quality measures

Structure

a) Evidence of local arrangements to provide independent advocacy services for people admitted to an inpatient mental health setting.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, service level agreements with local advocacy service providers and hospital admission checklists.

b) Evidence of local arrangements to promote independent advocacy services to people admitted to an inpatient mental health setting.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, admission checklists.

Process

Proportion of admissions to an inpatient mental health setting for which information is provided on admission about support available from independent advocacy services.

Numerator – the number in the denominator for which information is provided on admission about support available from independent advocacy services.

Denominator – the number of admissions to an inpatient mental health setting.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, an audit of case notes.

Outcome

Level of satisfaction with access to independent advocacy services for people using inpatient mental health settings.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, local patient surveys.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers (inpatient mental health services) ensure that independent advocacy services are available to people on admission. Staff know how to signpost people to independent advocacy services at admission or at any point during their stay in a way that takes account of individual needs and preferences.

Health and social care practitioners (the admitting team) discuss independent advocacy services with people on admission to an inpatient mental health setting and tell them how to access services if and when they want to.

Commissioners (local authorities) ensure that they commission adequate independent advocacy services and that access to independent advocacy is set out in contracting arrangements with providers so that people admitted to an inpatient mental health setting have access to independent advocacy services on admission and during their stay.

People who are admitted to hospital for a mental health problem are told how they can get support from an independent advocacy service, if they want to. An independent advocate can help people get the information they need to make choices about their care and can help them to get their views across.

Source guidance

Transition between inpatient mental health settings and community or care home settings (2016) NICE guideline NG53, recommendation 1.3.4

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Independent advocacy services

Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need. Advocates and advocacy schemes work in partnership with the people they support and take their side. Advocacy promotes social inclusion, equality and social justice.

Independent advocacy services include, but are not limited to:

[Adapted from Action for Advocacy, About Advocacy and the Mental Health Act 1983 Section 130A Independent mental health advocates]

Equality and diversity considerations

Independent advocacy services, and information provided about them, should take into account people's language and communication needs, cultural and social needs, and other protected characteristics.