Requesting an advocate
Advocacy is when another person is on your side to help you solve a problem, protect your rights, and promote your interests.
Advocates usually work with you on a short term basis (for a particular issue or problem) and will stop working with you once the issue is resolved.
An advocate will help you solve an issue you might have with us, or with a service provider.
They are independent of all other people who might already be working with you, such as your family members, service providers or a case manager. Advocates can't give legal advice, but may be able to tell you where you can get this kind of advice if you need it.
What an advocate can do
An advocate can help you sort out a problem, or do other things such as:
- Help write letters
- Help make phone calls
- Go to meetings with you or on your behalf.
Having an advocate will not affect how icare treats you.
We will only know you have an advocate if you’ve given the advocate permission to speak on your behalf.
Advocacy is free
There is no limit on the number of times you can seek help from an advocate, but there has to be a particular issue or problem the advocate can help with. They are unable to help with day-to-day issues.
Situations when an advocate might be helpful
An advocate gives you a different kind of help from a case manager or other other people involved in your treatment, rehabilitation and care.
An advocate might help if you feel you can’t talk to us or a service provider in the following types of situations:
- To change your contact at icare (such as a coordinator)
- To change service providers, such as your case manager or attendant care provider
- To change your living arrangements (for example, to move out of home)
- To lodge a dispute − an option when you don’t agree with a decision we’ve made
- To make a complaint about icare or a service provider.
How to find an advocate
We can help you find an advocate or you can use the Disability Advocacy Finder developed by the National Disability Advocacy Program to find services, that provide advocacy for people with disabilities.
What we offer
We understand that sometimes it can be difficult to speak up when you are unhappy about something.
If you disagree with a decision lifetime care have made you may want to dispute it. Sometimes you may want to make a complaint about us, the services we fund or the way we do things.
We can provide you with access to an impartial and external support and advocacy service to assist you to either dispute one of our decisions or make a complaint to us. The dispute or complaint process does not need to be navigated alone.
There is no requirement for you to use a support and advocacy provider if you want to lodge a dispute or make a complaint. If you feel comfortable and confident with the dispute or complaint process and do not need this help, you do not need to use it.
How it works
The support and advocacy service can:
- provide you with information about the Lifetime Care dispute and complaint process;
- provide you with emotional support through each of these processes;
- provide end-to-end support to you through both the dispute and complaint process, including helping you understand what to expect at each stage;
- minimise conflict throughout the process by having an impartial person involved;
- alleviate any misunderstandings you may have about the processes or the outcome of the dispute or complaint; and
- allow you support and advocacy that is independent of Lifetime Care and that can be accessed anonymously (if you wish).
How to access the support and advocacy service
Lifetime Care has three support and advocacy service providers that have been chosen for the skills in working with people with severe injuries:
- Spinal Cord Injuries Australia
- Disability Advocacy NSW Inc.
See our support and advocacy information sheet for their contact details and information about the services they provide.
You can contact one of these providers at any time to start receiving advocacy support for disputes or complaints. This service is funded by icare lifetime care and there is no cost to participants or family members.
Alternatively, you can ask your case manager or someone at Lifetime Care (such as your coordinator or a member of our Scheme Integration and Resolution team who help resolve disputes and complaints) to touch base with a support and advocacy provider who’ll contact you about the support you need.