Listen up! If you want some peace of mind when dealing with the complicated world of healthcare, you have got to get yourself a patient advocate. Sure, healthcare providers may have their own advocates, but those guys work for the man. Your personal health advocate can monitor things while you focus on feeling better. Having a patient advocate enables you or your family to concentrate on health, knowing a professional is watching out for them. 

The advocate works with the staff to accomplish the goals of patient care. And, when necessary, can be assertive, pushing issues up the chain of command to get resolution. Taking on this role allows the family to concentrate on the patient and avoid being at odds with the staff. Private advocates work for YOU, and only you. They’re like your own personal tour guide through the maze of medical jargon and confusing treatment options.

And dealing with doctors and nurses can be stressful enough to give anyone anxiety. Even when the interaction is not life-threatening, most people experience anxiety when encountering healthcare providers. Anxiety impedes the ability to think, hear, form questions, to recall information. 

Having an advocate frees you or your family from these worries because the advocate will prepare questions, take notes, raise issues or concerns, be available to talk through the encounter and offer explanations. This does not mean that the advocate takes over or that you relinquish your autonomy. It simply means the patient can breathe a little easier knowing they are with someone who knows how the system works. 

The presence of an advocate usually has a positive impact on the staff. The staff seems to step up a little more, knowing that a professional is monitoring the care. They also appreciate speaking to someone who speaks their language and understands how the system works.

When there are problems, the advocate can address them free of the emotional charge that a family member might bring to the situation, as a professional, who can’t be intimidated. That’s where your advocate comes in, taking notes, asking questions, and just being a badass on your behalf. They’ll even step in and mediate family disagreements over treatment choices or end-of-life decisions.

So don’t be a hero and try to handle it all on your own. Get yourself a patient advocate and let them be your health BFF. I believe it is one of the best gifts you can give yourself with your health and recovery.

Originally Published on

I served as a teacher, a teacher on Call, a Department Head, a District Curriculum, Specialist, a Program Coordinator, and a Provincial Curriculum Coordinator over a forty year career. In addition, I was the Department Head for Curriculum and Instruction, as well as a professor both online and in person at the University of Phoenix (Canada) from 2000-2010.

I also worked with Special Needs students. I gave workshops on curriculum development and staff training before I fully retired

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