Starting off as a Patient’s Advocate / Hiring a New Patient Advocate
The information below offers some suggestions how a person starting off as a patient advocate (or in a position to assist a family of a hospitalized patient when the family members can’t be available) can get started. This checklist can help an advocate lend support to a family by being present for a patient in the hospital following surgery or a procedure.
For the Family
Advocate should have in writing and know:
- The person’s name and phone number to contact with any questions or updates. If a health care proxy form is available, be sure the advocate has it.
- Expected medications (names, times and doses).
- Name of doctor in charge.
- Planned services such as physical therapy, x-ray, CAT scan or wound care.
- Any allergies, diet restrictions or expected outcomes such as nausea, dizziness or fall risk.
What you want the advocate to do:
- Call with updates: times and phone # or text.
- Ask staff to wash before touching the patient.
- Wipe down surfaces with sanitizer.
- Question who enters the room and get name and reason (business card for doctors or other visitors).
- Be sure staff ask the patient’s name and birth date.
- Question all medications, names on medication and doses. Compare to list.
- Keep a list of questions with the patient.
- Take notes when the doctor or nurse treats patient.
- Have appropriate family contact / health care proxy.
- Introduce yourself to staff.
- Be sure a notebook is available near patient.
- Give privacy (leave the room) when patient is bathing / toileting / dressing,
- Bring a book to read or something else to do quietly.
- Bring cash for parking and change for vending machines, or a light snack and drink for yourself.