Issue 2 You Need an Advocate!
There are times when you, a family member or close friend may need to visit the Doctor for something other than a routine physical, or even require hospitalization. This can cause feelings of fear and anxiety for the patient, as a result, judgment and memory can be impaired. At a stressful time like that, it’s important to have an advocate accompany the patient. A patient advocate is someone the patient trusts, and it’s usually a spouse, family member or close friend. An effective advocate will need to be able to:
- Effectively communicate with the patient and the healthcare team.
- Write down information received from caregivers and any questions the patient may have. Here’s a list of questions you may have http://archive.ahrq.gov/qual/beprepared.htm
- Have patience and be attentive to the patient and the surroundings to help prevent medical errors. http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/20tips.htm
Do you already have an advocate? If not, now you understand the necessity and benefits. Be informed and empowered to receive safe and effective care by choosing your advocate today! Then inform your health care team who your advocate is and how you want them to be involved in your care.
In addition to choosing a patient advocate to accompany you, I strongly encourage you to consider having an advance directive/durable power of attorney for healthcare. The laws for advance directives vary by state. Find more information here http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/advancedirectives.html
Next week: Your Medication List