What is Bilingual Advocacy?

  • 04/03/2019
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What is Bilingual Advocacy?

Bilingual advocacy is an interim service that helps those that do not speak English to access the services they need and empowers individuals to take control of their own healthcare. Distinct in its role from interpreting, bilingual advocacy practitioners work with clients on a short term basis to provide information about the services that are available and ensure the client’s wishes are heard in the decision making process. They also provide necessary cultural information to service providers on behalf of the client.

Referrals for bilingual advocacy may come from a variety of sources and anyone can suggest the service if they feel it is a suitable course of action; for example, a social worker, a friend or family member, an advocate working in the community or clients may self-refer. Bilingual advocates working with Vandu Language Services are usually engaged for one to one appointments in the first instance and the client is encouraged to discuss their issues in a place they feel comfortable and able to talk. Often, initial assessment takes place over the phone but in certain circumstances could be at a client’s home or in a neutral space such as a library.

Once agreed on a course of action, the client offers their consent for an advocate to act on their behalf while also being present at subsequent face to face appointments with those responsible for carrying out treatment.

Bilingual advocates take instruction from the client at all stages, ensuring their wishes are voiced and to satisfactory conclusion. Signposting to services equipped to assist the client and demonstrating how to continue to do so in the future are major elements of the advocate’s role. Assessment of improvement in the client’s well-being and self-reliance takes place at the beginning and end of case to establish the efficacy of the service provided.

Key responsibilities of a Bilingual Advocate

  • Act on behalf of their patients and help them to communicate their needs to health and social care providers;
  • Help service providers to understand fully the symptoms that patients express;
  • Facilitate linguistic and cultural communications;
  • Inform clients of services and choices available;
  • Work with individual patients or groups of patients;
  • Assist with promoting good health and well-being.

To find out more about this service or to speak to an advisor, please contact the Vandu service team on 01273 473986


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