Lynne has complex needs, including a learning disability. She lives in an NHS hospital. Lynne needed to use incontinence pads overnight, but the hospital decided to stop providing them. This meant that Lynne was often left in soiled sheets until morning. This was extremely distressing and embarrassing for Lynne, was affecting her skin and she thought she was being treated in this way as a form of punishment. Lynne's advocate had been trained by BIHR and recognised that this could infringe Lynne's right to be free from degrading treatment (protected by Article 3 in the Human Rights Act). The advocate also saw that Lynne needed support to understand what was happening, in order to protect her autonomy (covered by Article 8 in the Human Rights Act).

Lynne's advocate created a short storyboard to talk through the issue with Lynne and explain about her rights. Lynne was pleased someone had understood how she felt and agreed that the advocate could discuss her rights with the hospital. As a result, the hospital re-instated the use of incontinence pads so that Lynne would not face hours of discomfort and embarrassment each night.

Example from BIHR’s protect Care and Support: A Human Rights Approach to Advocacy