The Community Visitor Scheme is an independent statutory scheme that undertakes visits and inspections to acute mental health facilities, emergency departments of hospitals, community mental health centres, intermediate care centres, state-run disability accommodation and Office of the Public Advocate clients under the NDIS. The Principal Community Visitor reports to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing on matters relating to mental health services, and the Minister for Human Services on matters related to disability accommodation. The overall aim of the Community Visitor Scheme (CVS) is to protect the rights of people living with disability or mental illness who are receiving care in a mental health treatment centre or attending a community mental health facility or living in state-run disability accommodation. The independence of the CVS is very important as it enables clients, carers and family members to speak with individuals who are not associated with the provision of support and who can advocate to help resolve issues and improve service responses. The Community Visitor Scheme recruits individuals who are passionate about the rights of South Australians with mental illness or disabilities and who want to improve their care and treatment. Community Visitors come from a range of backgrounds and experiences, however the most important skill or attribute they have is being able to communicate confidently and genuinely wanting to help individuals and improve services. What do Community Visitors do? Community Visitors work in pairs and are required to inspect all areas of the facilities they visit and try to engage with as many clients as is possible to hear about their experiences as a client. They make enquiries into the care and treatment of clients and are required to communicate any issues arising to staff at the facility in an attempt to try and resolve these matters. They then provide a written report on their visit to the Principal Community Visitor which may include recommendations to refer matters of concern to appropriate bodies such as the Health and Community Services Complaints Commission and ultimately, the relevant Minister.
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