Sage - Support & Advocacy Service for Older People, The Establishment Phase
Report: September 2014 - December 2015
Following a historic documentary by RTE in 2005, exposing the treatment of residents in Leas Cross Nursing Home, the newly established Health Service Executive engaged with a with range of older peoples organisations as to the best means of protecting the rights and dignity of vulnerable older people in residential care. Government responded with an enquiry and charged the emergent Health Information & Quality Authority with introducing a system for registering and inspecting all nursing homes, public and private. Part of the HSE response was to work with older people’s organisations, and others, to develop an advocacy service for older people in nursing homes from 2007 onwards. Following a review in 2011 it was recommended that this service, which was being provided by trained volunteer advocates, should be developed independently of the HSE. In 2012, Third Age, an organisation of and for older people, was asked to manage the service following a call for expressions of interest across the sector and having established that no other appropriate statutory agency was in a position to take responsibility.
On the 24th June 2014 a memorandum of agreement was signed between Third Age, Atlantic Philanthropies and the Health Service Executive. Within the memorandum the scope of the service was the development and provision of an independent and impartial support and advocacy service for older people in care settings; home, nursing home, hospital and hospice, and in the process of transition between them. The key elements of the approach to developing the service included safety and quality, support and advocacy continuum, systemic & individual advocacy, social impact and sustainability. The purpose of the memorandum of agreement was to formally acknowledge that from July 1st 2014 Third Age would take full responsibility for the governance, management and development of Sage – Support & Advocacy Service for Older People, with joint funding from the HSE and The Atlantic Philanthropies until 31st December 2017 and continued funding by the HSE from 2018 onwards.
Sage is working to expand access to support and advocacy services in all care settings and wherever ageing poses a challenge for individuals. It is committed to addressing individual and systemic issues. The Sage approach is to “To collaborate where possible – to challenge where necessary”. Sage is working to build a team of people capable of tackling the most complex support and advocacy challenges presented by older people and / or people with an intellectual or other disability. To provide such a service requires the qualities of a ‘sage’: wisdom, judgement and experience.
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