Swim for advocacy
By Maria Dineen
Managing Director of Consequence UK and a leading patient safety campaigner
When one loses a loved one under expected circumstances the impact of the loss experienced can be hard to process. When a loved one is harmed, or dies, unexpectedly the sense of loss is magnified, and the processing of the experience made more difficult. This is the situation for individuals and families following, unexpected harm or death following healthcare and treatment, mental health homicide, and fatal domestic abuse.
There are three charities that support families who have experienced loss in these circumstances. They assist families to ask the right questions and to seek the right answers from the public and private providers of health, social care and other agents in public service who were involved with the harmed or deceased person in the period preceding the harm/death.
These charities are:
- Action against Medical Accidents
- Advocacy after fatal domestic abuse
My work requires me to support and lead the constructive analysis of the work of health professionals and social care professionals who were involved with the harmed person. I have become aware of how little support there is for families who are trying to understand what has happened. These charities provide the vital support to enable families to do this.
I am going to take part in 1×1.5k, 1x3k, 1x4k, 1x6k, 1×9.5 and 1x10k open water swim events between June and September 2018 to raise money for them. This represents a sizeable personal challenge and has required a commitment to an endurance-based swim training programme since December.
Currently I have reached the 6k continuous swim mark, and ventured into open water considerably earlier than I would normally. First dip was at 6.8 degrees, now a balmy 10 degrees! I’m hoping to manage at least two miles in the lake before end April.
At the end of September, the money I raise will be divided equally between the three charities to support their work. Work which is vital to enabling all health and social care organisations to deliver meaningful openness, honesty, and straight forward explanations of what happened and how, especially if mistakes were made. All are essential components of the healing and reconciliation process for harmed individuals and their families.