Be a Patient Advocate

So, You Want to be a Patient Advocate? Some things you could think about:

  • Can you recognize that you will not be giving advice even if you are a medical professional? 
    • As a patient advocate, you are not to give medical advice, only suggestions on how to get the best care possible. 
  • Do you want to do this because of your own experience?  
    • It’s not about you, and you should probably avoid sharing your own experiences. It’s not professional to talk about your bad healthcare experience if you had one or many.
  • Can you recognize your own bias?     
    • We all have biases. It’s how you handle them that matters. 
  • Can you care for someone and speak up for someone who doesn’t look like you or doesn’t hold your beliefs and values?
    • Religion and cultural backgrounds can play a role in people’s choices.
  • Can you support the medical care decisions a person may make with their medical team?  
    • It’s not about your choices, it’s about their choices.
  • Will you want to encourage someone to eat right and exercise? 
    • This is not about health, it’s about health care.
  • Can you help support the medical team when they are being respectful of a patient when the patient is angry and being disrespectful?
    • Mediation skills are helpful as is being able to hear both sides. You may be the one to calm a patient because they are scared or angry.
  • Will you know how to end a relationship if the patient becomes too needy or you are not a good match?     
    • Know your rules to protect yourself, and know if there are other advocates you can turn to.
  • Are you willing to sit at a patient’s bedside for long hours, go to a patient’s home to plan their care, drive them to an appointment, or ……..
    • Know before you start what you are willing to do.
  • Are you doing this because you were a great advocate for a family member?
    • This experience will be different when there is less emotional attachment.
  • Do you know what to charge for your services?       
    • Do some research on what others charge in your area and for similar services.
  • Are you willing to get training in business, marketing, advocacy?
    • These are all helpful areas in which to have some background and it will probably cost some money.

        When you have all these questions answered, or need help answering them, give us a call at Pulse CPSEA 516-579-4711






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Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education Advocacy