Sunday, October 31, 2010

Advantages of a Health Advocate

With my mother in the hospital and my mother-in-law in a skilled nursing facility, I know what it's like being a health advocate. Just when a doctor delivers a serious diagnosis, the advocate can pay close attention (hopefully) while the patient sits stunned and scared.

Listening to the doctor and asking questions is a vital piece in healthcare issues. The advocate who speaks up for the patient and helps him/her better understand the illness also secures the care and resources to make the journey easier.

The health advocate can be a family member, trusted friend or co-worker or a hired professional (your insurance may cover this cost), someone who knows your medical history in depth and is calm, detail-oriented and can ask questions and convey responses clearly.

This is what a health advocate can do for you:

1. Ask questions and voice your concerns
2. Compile and update your list of medicines
3. Help with after-care--following medication and other treatment instructions
4. Help arrange transportation
5. Research treatment options, procedures, doctors and hospitals
6. Assist with insurance
7. Ask the "what's next" questions
8. Submit an advance directive to your doctor

According to physician and author Dr. Carolyn Clancy, "It's likely that you or a loved one will one day need a health advocate. For many patients, the benefits of having an advocate are priceless because he or she can help you understand your options and give you peace of mind so you can focus on your recovery."

Source: Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

1 comment:

Diane J Standiford said...

I worry about this. I have no one. Oh, well.