When your car breaks down, you call a mechanic.
When you need legal advice, you call a lawyer.
But when you’re faced with a health situation and you have to make important decisions quickly, where do you turn?
You can contact a patient advocate.
The Role of a Patient Advocate
Patient advocates help individuals make important healthcare decisions for themselves or for a loved one. Advocates explain test results, treatment options and complicated diagnoses. When family is out of town, they provide comfort, reassurance and peace of mind.
I know this because I am one.
I started Guided Patient Services in 2014 in response to a need that was not being met. As a physician, I saw families in the hospital who were overwhelmed, confused and uncertain of the next steps.
Through Guided Patient Services, I provide clients and their families with medical interpretation, guidance, and support. With a patient advocate by your side, you never have to feel alone.
Private Professional Advocate Week is March 20-26
The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates has designated next week as Private Professional Advocate Week, a time to create awareness of the work we do, and how we can be a support when times get tough.
I sincerely hope you never need me. But if you do, I want you to understand the services that patient advocates provide. We are:
• Your translator. We understand medical language, and can explain it in a way you can understand, as many times as you need us to.
• Your coordinator. We schedule your appointments, make sure you are prepared, and accompany you there.
• Your liaison. We provide coordination of care when multiple health care providers are involved, or in the case of a surgery or hospitalization.
• Your representative. We attend medical team conferences to enhance your understanding and to update family members.
I have had the honor of advocating for young people struggling with a complicated diagnosis. For seniors who need coordination of care. For out-of-town families, who as much as they want to, can’t make it to their loved one’s doctor’s appointments, hospitalizations or procedures.
Last fall, Ruth contacted me after her husband of 42 years suffered a massive stroke and was discharged to a rehab facility. Her family was out of town, and her friends had left the area for the winter. She was feeling exhausted and alone.
I helped Ruth understand her husband’s treatment options. I coordinated his appointments, and attended medical team meetings on her behalf. I was able to give Ruth clarity and confidence, so she could make informed healthcare decisions for her husband.
I can replace worry, confusion and crisis with personalized support, guidance and peace of mind. Please don’t hesitate to call and speak with me regarding your health care concerns at 614-981-5951.