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Do You Have a Healthcare Advocate? You Probably Need One.

healthcare advocate

Everyone needs a healthcare advocate, especially in a strained health care system.  An advocate can be a friend, a family member or a hired professional, but it needs to be someone who isn’t going to let anything fall through the cracks.  The current pandemic has left a gap in our health care system, and it’s resulting in chaos, confusion and feelings of helplessness for some.  

People receiving care or those who are trying to support someone who is, don’t know where to turn.  An advocate should know how to navigate the health care system, get answers to questions, interpret medical terminology and speak up for better care.  This is why choosing a registered nurse as a healthcare advocate makes perfect sense.  I found this information from Johns Hopkins Medicine informative.  https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-power-of-a-health-care-advocate

Navigating our complex healthcare system can be overwhelming.  There are many moving parts in this arena of providing care.   People who provide care include primary care physicians, specialists, hospitalists, psychiatrists, psychologists, registered nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, case managers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and social workers, among others.  

Places to receive care include offices, urgent care centers, outpatient surgical centers, in-home care, memory care units, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, cancer treatment centers, outpatient infusion centers, and more.  Do you know what all of this means, and who provides what care and where?  If you aren’t in healthcare, you might not.  This is when a healthcare advocate can offer direction and explanation.

I’m witnessing family members with loved ones in the hospital or rehabilitation center struggling to get answers.  Healthcare practitioners are short-staffed and stressed; they simply aren’t as readily accessible as they once were.  If your loved one has Covid-19 and isn’t allowed visitors, and you can’t speak to anyone responsible for their care, it brings a feeling of helplessness.  Not knowing the current medical state of a loved one is scary.  

registered nurse

A registered nurse healthcare advocate knows how to get answers to your questions.  They know how to get behind the scenes and connect with someone, a live person, not just voicemail.  A good healthcare advocate will even show up in person and continue to knock on the door, so to speak, until someone answers.

Medical terminology includes medical diseases or diagnoses, medical procedures, and medication names to name a few.  The information given to you is only beneficial if you can understand what it means.  Some of this terminology is so lengthy, that it’s tricky to say, yet alone read or write.  I won’t even expand on reading physician handwriting…yikes.  

A healthcare advocate will translate this information to you in non-medical terms, so you know what it really means.  When you fully comprehend the information presented, you will be better prepared to make informed decisions based on your specific needs and wishes.

Registered nurses aren’t typically the shy, quiet ones.  They aren’t afraid to speak up and they most likely became a nurse because they truly want to help others.  They have the expertise to question the plan of care, question the people creating the plan, and advocate for the patient to receive the best care possible.  

I’m not suggesting that these advocates are troublemakers; however, if I see a patient struggling with low blood pressure, dizziness and falls, yet they are receiving four different medications for high blood pressure, I’m certainly speaking up.  True story, by the way.

A registered nurse healthcare advocate can be a tremendous support in health care.  While they are able to accompany others to medical appointments, assist with care coordination during a hospitalization or rehabilitation stay, or make referrals to the appropriate healthcare practitioner, most of all, they possess a strong passion to help others.  They are the knowledgeable hand that bridges the gap in healthcare, making sure that no one is falling through the cracks.

Find out how to advocate for a loved one before surgery here https://wellnessstrategiesgroup.com/2022/04/healthcare-advocate-surgery/.