Today, there are several hundred patient advocates across the country. The number of private patient advocates is growing as many people find it difficult to navigate the health care system to get the appropriate care that they need on their own. Advocates understand the system. They can assist in accessing appropriate and safe care and identify many available options. Patients and their families are reaching out to private patient advocates to get the help they need.
Patient advocates are professionals who serve as a liaison between patients and other health care professionals who are involved in the health of the individual. A patient advocate can be the patient’s primary spokesperson to ensure that she or he receives the medical attention they need, as well as keeping them safe. Patient advocates can help improve communication between everyone.
Patient advocates review your medical diagnosis, research all treatment options, evaluate care needs, and are involved in medical case management. They can also accompany you to a provider visit or sit with you at your bedside in the hospital. They can assist in determining the need for hospice and home health care, or nursing homes and assisted living facilities that suit the patient’s needs.
An advocate can help with the patient’s hospital discharge to ensure that the transition back to home or to a long-term care facility goes smoothly. They offer assistance in reminders for taking medications and following up with health care provider appointments.
Advocates help with emotional needs for patients and families who are having trouble coping by connecting them with mental health support services.
There are other advocates who may not assist with care itself, but can assist with paperwork, communicate with insurers as well as make sure that physicians and medical facilities receive timely payment for their services. Some advocates can even help you find legal resources related to your medical issues.
As the country continues to deal with the future of our health care system, and as more than 34 million new people join the ranks of those who are able to access care, the health care maze will become more difficult to navigate. More and more people will find themselves confused, frustrated, lost, and possibly sicker than before. Patient advocates help you when you need someone to sort through the questions that have not been answered, decrease your frustrations, and provide guidance through the health care system so that you receive the health care you deserve. Hiring a private patient advocate will give you peace of mind, allowing you and your loved ones to focus on healing.
If you have question about how a patient advocate can help you, please contact us.
Links to learn more information about private patient advocates:
- “Advocates Can Help” by Kristen Gerencher from The Wall Street Journal Personal Finance page.
- "Ahead of the Curve: Patient Advocate" by Marty Nemco from USNews.com.
- "Be Your Own Best Health Advocate" by Leslie Goldman from O, The Oprah Magazine.
- "How to Find a Health Advocate" by Leslie Goldman from O, The Oprah Magazine.
- "What Does a Patient Advocate Do?" by ADVOConnection's Trisha Torrey.
- "Why You May Need a Health Advocate" by Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., AHRQ from an AARP "My Medical Manager" bulletin.
About the author: Debi Quirk has a Master’s of Science in Nursing and is a nationally certified Registered Nurse who has worked for 34 years in hospital and home health care and has also taught future nurses at the university level. She currently is a private patient advocate in Seattle, Washington. She started RN Patient Advocates of Puget Sound because her passion is to empower patients to get the best health care possible.
Click here to read more about Debi Quirk.
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