Kenneth is in his 60’s and lives in a community step-down unit for men with a learning disability. He has lived there for six years. Kenneth referred himself for advocacy support about moving to another unit because he was very concerned about another resident and didn’t feel comfortable around them. This other resident was going through an unsettled time.

Kenneth is deaf but does not use sign language. He can lip read and understands best when people speak clearly and at an even pace, face him and use plain English. He prefers to have important things written down for him so that he knows he has understood what is being explained to him.

Jean, an advocate, met with Kenneth at the unit and explained what she does as an advocate. She spoke to Kenneth about his request to move and asked him how he wished to raise his concerns, whether he wanted to ask staff for support, or whether he would like her to ask for support from staff on his behalf. Kenneth asked if Jean could discuss the possible move with the Manager as he felt that when he had raised his wishes before, he had not been listened to. Jean arranged a meeting with the manager and invited Kenneth to come along and be part of the discussion.

Jean laid out the room so that Kenneth could see both herself and the manager clearly and asked the manager to face Kenneth when she spoke – this made it easier for Kenneth to lip read. She also made notes for Kenneth on a pad as the meeting went along so that he could follow what was being said and check his understanding. Jean supported Kenneth to explain to the Manager that he was uncomfortable being around the other resident and felt unsafe and therefore wished to be moved to another unit somewhere else.

The outcome of the meeting was that the Manager arranged for Kenneth’s Social Worker to come to visit him. As the placement met Kenneth’s needs and he had been happy there before the other resident arrived, the following steps were taken; staff supported Kenneth in his interactions with the other resident, a problem solving session was held for them, and Kenneth was given more talk time with staff. Steps were also taken to support the other resident to feel more settled. Kenneth’s Social Worker arranged to visit him regularly to check that this unit continues to be the best place for him and he is still content to remain there.

Jean checked in with Kenneth to make sure he was happy with this outcome and didn’t have any other requests. Kenneth thanked Jean for supporting him to express how he was feeling, and empowering him to seek resolution for his concerns. He said that she had supported him to be able to take a more active role in his own wellbeing and care, and helped his staff to be more aware of his communication needs and safety concerns. He said the situation with the other resident is improving and he feels much safer and more confident in the unit.