For people with complex medical issues or cognitive impairment, an Independent Patient Advocate can be a great help. Many medical facilities have patient advocates. These advocates may work for the facility's Risk Management Department, and even though they may be helpful to you, their first loyalty is to the facility.
A family member or close friend may act as your advocate. For consistency of service and understanding, it is highly recommended that you have the same person with you each time you need an advocate. If you do not have such a person in your life, hiring an Independent Patient Advocate is a good idea.
Independent Patient Advocates can:
Accompany the patient to medical appointments, take notes, ask questions, and make sure follow-up appointments and new prescriptions are handled.
Help keep your medications straight.
Encourage good health habits, like a nutrient-dense diet, hydration, sleep, movement, and skin care.
Observe daily habits, taking note of changes and patterns that have changed in some way, and adjust care plan and/or notify the doctor.
Meet with anyone who may have a positive impact on the patient's health, and stand up to anyone who may not be acting in their best interest.
Help identify wishes for end of life care, including needed documents and personal requests.