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The Power of a Patient Advocate: A Story of Success

Patient Advocate

Navigating the complexities of the healthcare system can be overwhelming, especially when faced with a significant illness or injury.  During these times, the presence of a patient advocate can be a game-changer, ensuring the patient’s needs are met and that they receive the best possible care.  In this blog, we’ll explore the transformative impact of having a patient advocate, illustrated by a compelling story of a family who found success and support through the expertise of a nurse advocate.

The Event

John, a vibrant and active 78-year-old, experienced a severe fall that left him with multiple fractures.  His family, unsettled from the shock of the incident, quickly realized the magnitude of the medical journey ahead.  John was admitted to a trauma hospital, where he underwent surgery and began a long road to recovery.  Despite the hospital’s best efforts and comprehensive care plan, the family felt they needed an experienced patient advocate on their team to help decipher the medical lingo, guide them through a myriad of healthcare professionals and ensure the best care was being provided.

Enter the Nurse Advocate

Recognizing the need for professional guidance, John’s family decided to hire nurse Andrea with Wellness Strategies Group.  With 30 years of nursing experience, Andrea brought a wealth of knowledge and a keen eye for detail to John’s case.  From the moment she joined the team, Andrea visited John at the trauma center and began a review of John’s medical records and treatment plans.  As John was transferred to the rehab center, Andrea followed him and completed the same process there.

Identifying Concerns

Andrea’s expertise quickly revealed several medical concerns that had been overlooked by the hospital and rehab facility.  The hospital and rehab care plan are rightfully focused on the reason for admission, but they might not consider other changes that may be happening as a result.  For example, in this case, the patient advocate’s objective eye identified early signs of a respiratory infection that had gone unnoticed by the medical staff.  This observation led to a chest x-ray, and subsequent order for antibiotics, and adding a respiratory therapy consult and incentive spirometer to the treatment plan.  

Utilizing clinical experience, Andrea was also able to identify when rehab staff selected the incorrect assistive device to aid in orthopedic recovery and noticed that a stool softener was being administered during times of loose stool.  Andrea met with the rehab director of nursing and social worker to request a care planning meeting so all disciplines, John, and his family were on the same page for treatment goals.

Guiding the Family

Beyond identifying medical issues, nurse Andrea played a crucial role in guiding John’s family through the complex healthcare landscape.  She educated them on what symptoms to monitor, how to identify and reach the key players at the facility, and what to expect from staff.  She was also able to attend the care planning meeting and guide family in resources to elevate inpatient care and begin planning for discharge home.  This empowerment gave the family confidence and clarity to become active participants in John’s care.

Improved Outcomes

With the patient advocate’s intervention, John’s care plan was updated, leading to significant improvements in his treatment and condition.  The early infection was treated promptly, the correct assistive device was used, and the medication list was revised.  All members of his care plan were able to work together with vigilant oversight and a proactive approach to ensure that John received the comprehensive care he needed to recover.

The Impact of a Patient Advocate

John’s story is a powerful testament to the critical role that patient advocates play in healthcare.  Having a dedicated advocate, like Wellness Strategies Group, not only addressed immediate medical concerns but also provided the family with invaluable support and education.  This holistic approach not only improved John’s recovery, but also eased the emotional burden on his loved ones.

Conclusion

The journey through an illness or injury is never easy, but having a patient advocate can make a difference.  Advocates bring specialized knowledge, a critical eye, and compassionate support.  This story highlights the profound impact that a patient advocate can have, turning a challenging medical journey into a path of success.

If you or your loved one is navigating the complexities of an illness or injury, consider the power of a patient advocate by your side.  Their expertise and dedication can make all the difference in achieving the best possible outcomes.  Contact Wellness Strategies Group to learn more about our advocacy services.