Aging is a condition which happens over time which is both avoided and wished for. People wish to live a long life, but they also don’t want to grow old and deal with the downsides which can come with aging. Our bodies are changing once again, requiring a different style of care from what we had in the last three to four decades, and sometimes we need assistance in the form of a patient advocate.
What Is A Patient Advocate?
A patient advocate, or medical advocate, is a person who guides a patient through the healthcare systems and communicates with the patient’s healthcare providers. This may include helping to set up appointments, working with the patient’s employers, dealing with insurance companies, and setting up social, legal, and financial support that the patient may need.
Role Of A Patient Advocate
Whether it is working with patients who are ill or patients who are aging, the role of an advocate is essentially the same. The advocate’s job is to assist a patient and work on their behalf. While judgment can be impaired during an illness, or through aging, the advocate is a steady rock who can get what the patient needs.
Why Have A Patient Advocate?
Navigating through the healthcare system can be overwhelming and confusing, even more so when the individual is ill and are in no mood to deal with other people. If major surgery is planned, or even a minor one, the advocate can work on the patient’s behalf before, during, and after the surgery when the patient is in no condition to do anything for themselves. These advocates can be a friend, family member, or someone working in the hospital, such as a chaplain or a social worker.
Benefits Of A Patient Advocate
Apart from freeing up time for the patient by setting up appointments and dealing with health insurance companies, there are numerous other benefits of having a patient advocate. If the patient is overwhelmed or has impaired judgment, they can ask questions about treatment or inform the patient about tests and self-care practices. They can also work with the patient’s employer, organize and monitor medication, and even arrange meetings to discuss legal matters.
My Folks And I Are Getting Older, Where Do We Begin?
The Will Rogers Foundation provides social service consultations for patient advocacy, health insurance advice, as well as guidance for elder care and other available consultations. Beyond the consultation for advocacy, weighing your options for an advocate is the next best choice.
If you have a friend, child, or family member who you believe can handle the role of being your advocate, then you may wish to ask them. If you don’t have anyone you, or your parents, can rely on in that manner, then reaching out to a social worker, a trusted chaplain in the community, or contacting a professional patient advocate would be the next step.