When my mother got sick it would have been so helpful to have someone available to help navigate Medicare and the healthcare system, listen to the challenges I was encountering, and advocate for her healthcare and rights. During this time I easily became overwhelmed and searched high and low for information and the right answers, wasting much time looking in the wrong spots. In hindsight, I should have known it was time to hire a patient advocate. Patient advocates can provide dozens of advantages to those they serve, and offer assistance in many scenarios.
When You’re Not Near Family
When you’re not near a family member that is struggling with changes in their health and tough transitions, it can be incredibly stressful and difficult to manage. Balancing your current life and responsibilities with the needs of your family member can feel unmanageable. You’re not sure if you have all of the information or if you’re representing your family member in the appropriate manner. A patient advocate can serve as a middleman to help relay information and documentation as well as facilitate desires, needs and requests to providers. Simply having this person on board as an advocate for your loved one can alleviate stress and settle concern.
Need Help with Your Healthcare Regimen
In the face of a healthcare struggle, necessary routines such as medications or medical appointments, can get out of control and make you feel like you’re drowning. A patient advocate can assist in setting routines as well as coordinating the steps to ensure the routines are effective and ongoing. Removing small burdens like transportation logistics and making multiple appointments on the same day, will help you focus on important things like healing.
When You’re Battling a Specific Challenge or Health Issue
Whether you’re battling a short term healthcare problem or a major health crisis or a difficult transition and need additional support and representation, a patient advocate will be a valuable tool. Most advocates are willing to work around your needs and understand there are specific struggles that warrant outside help. Hiring an advocate to assist with a specific problem can help you heal faster and more easily get through your paperwork and other requirements. Your patient advocate can also help you interview and hire additional help at home or transition to a higher level of care.
When You Feel Overwhelmed with Information
You can leave one simple appointment with a stack of diagnosis, new prescriptions, and orders for follow up care not to mention billing information that leaves your head spinning. This stack can easily multiply when you add visits to other providers and insurance correspondence. If you’re struggling to understand and sift through this documentation, it’s the perfect time to consider hiring a patient advocate. A patient advocate can help you digest the information, answer questions, and facilitate additional correspondence on remaining concerns or request for more info.
You Need Assistance Communicating with Your Provider(s)
At times, you may run into a provider that doesn’t seem to “hear” you. Many of us have been there: we appreciate and select a caregiver because of their knowledge and expertise, but their bedside manner and ability to talk to the average person leaves us wanting more. A patient advocate is skilled at asking the right questions and facilitating dialogue to get the answers you need and want. This person can attend appointments with you or make calls on your behalf to make communicating clearer and simpler.
When You Need Assistance with Your Overall Healthcare
At some point, you or your family member may be ready to retain an ongoing patient advocate to assist with many health care needs on a regular basis. In many cases, this is the best use of a patient advocate because they begin to know and understand your healthcare needs and goals in-and-out. A patient advocate can assist with healthcare, facilitation, coordination, or other needs you or your family member may have.