Bilingual Health Advocacy
The Bilingual Health Advocacy project has been completed and is now closed. This page is for information only.
Health Advocates promoted the health of project users and empowered them to achieve better health outcomes for themselves and their families.
Health Advocates negotiated between project users and health professionals to ensure that users understood the issues and decisions that affected their healthcare – this could often involve translating not only between languages, but also between cultural understandings.
WHFS (Women's Health & Family Services) had a team of 15 Health Advocates working to enable project users to access local primary healthcare more effectively. The Health Advocates engaged with project users in the following languages:
“Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain the services they need. Advocates and advocacy schemes work in partnership with the people they support and take their side. Advocacy promotes social inclusion, equality and social justice"
(Advocacy Charter 2005)
- Bring together different healthcare approaches to assist the project user's understanding
WHFS advocates regularly report difficulties that project users experience when attempting to reconcile traditional or community-based approaches to healthcare with those prescribed through conventional medical health services.
- Have an understanding of cultural differences and modes of learning
WHFS Advocates have a better understanding of what are meaningful healthcare learning experiences for their project users. They also report the high value their project users place on community approaches to healthcare and those patients often prefer to confide in their advocate whose skill is then to bring about discussion with their GPs, sensitively touching on the issues concerning the project user.
- Provide support, information and additional services
It is acknowledged that advocates who give support and information to project users before and after their appointments and offer on-going telephone and face-to-face advice is more valuable and cost effective to the NHS than purely interpreting intervention.
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