4. Independent advocates
Some people who have care and support needs now, or will do in the future, may have difficulty being involved in and making decisions about their care and support. If a person lacks the ability, known as ‘mental capacity’, to make decisions, they may need someone else to make decisions on their behalf.
Often these decisions will be taken by a family member or friend, but some people may not have anyone to support them in this way. The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Code of Practice on Advocacy says that local authorities should identify these people as early as possible in the process in case an advocate is required. If a person is not able to participate fully in decisions about their care and support and has no one to help them, the local authority is responsible for providing or arranging the provision of an advocate.
Informal advocacy from family members, friends of volunteers can be a good source of support for some people with dementia. However, there will be occasions when this support is not available and formal or independent professional advocacy will be needed.