Everyone has a right to bring a support person or an advocate to cohealth. An advocate is someone who can support you or talk on your behalf with your permission. Understanding how to find an advocate can help ensure you get the health care you need.
Who can be my advocate?
There are different types of advocates for different needs.
An informal advocate may be a:
- family member or relative
- close friend or neighbour
- community leader
A formal advocate may be a:
- support worker
- representative from organisation that supports your specific needs
You can choose your own advocate, or we can assist you to contact an independent advocacy agency. You can change your advocate or stop using an advocate at any time.
Your advocate should be someone who:
- you trust
- knows your culture and beliefs
- will respect your wishes
- is committed to supporting you with your health needs
What can my advocate help me with?
- talk with you to understand what you want to do
- consider if they are the right person to help you
- help you to find a solution to a problem
- involve you as much as possible
- only have access to your health information if you consent
- provide you with information
- help you to communicate and speak for yourself, or support you with communication aids
An advocate can offer suggestions and information about options, but the final decision will always be yours. cohealth encourages you to use an advocate when raising issues that make you feel overwhelmed, or if you are unsure about your rights. You can also use an advocate when receiving a service, including during the assessment or review process or if you are making a complaint..
Does my advocate get access to my health information?
Information is not shared with your advocate unless we have your consent to do so.
You need to download, print and complete an ‘Authority to Act as an Advocate’ form and return it via email, post or in person to your cohealth centre. These contact details are on the form. The completed form will be uploaded to your secure client electronic file. You can also get a copy of this form from the reception at your local cohealth centre.
Which organisations can help me find an advocate?
Organisations that can assist you with advocacy or provide you with an advocate are listed below:
|Aged Care Information Line|
Provides free, confidential, and independent advocacy support to older people receiving or looking to access government-funded aged care services.
|Phone: 1800 200 422 |
(Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm & Saturday 10am – 2pm)
TTY: 1800 555 660
|Council on the Ageing Seniors Information Line|
Provides free information about aged care, finances, housing, pensions and concessions.
|Phone: 1300 13 50 90|
(Monday – Friday 9:30am – 4pm)
|Office of the Public Advocate|
Provides guardianship and advocacy services for people with disability.
|Phone: 1300 309 337|
(Monday – Friday 9am – 4:45pm)
|Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) |
Provides free and confidential service promoting the rights of people receiving aged care services.
|Phone: 1800 700 600|
(Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm)
Provides information, support, advice and education to help prevent elder abuse and safeguard the rights, dignity and independence of older people.
|Phone:1300 368 821|
(Monday-Friday 10am – 5pm)
|The National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP)|
Provides people with disability with access to effective disability advocacy that promotes, protects and ensures their full and equal enjoyment of all human rights enabling community participation.
|List of agencies funded under the NDAP |
Disability Advocacy Finder
Disability Advocacy Fact Sheet
|Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council|
Provides advocacy, education and research services to ensure people’s rights are upheld and their opinions and wishes are heard in matters that affect their lives.
|Disability Advocacy Resource Unit (DARU)|
Works with disability advocacy organisations to promote and protect the rights of people with disability.
|Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID)|
Provides support for a person with disabilities to speak up about what you want, get the information you need to make your own decisions, and to explore the choices you want to make.
|Phone: 03 9416 4003|
(Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm)
Provides a statewide voice for family carers, representing and providing support to carers in Victoria.
|Phone: 1800 514 845|
(Monday – Friday 8.30am-5pm)