Help for the Patient Safety Advocate

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Join the Pulse Patient Safety Advocate Academy - Always Growing and Here to Support You!  


Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy will never ask a patient or family to sign a HIPAA form or to consent to release of private information because no conversation takes place without the patient or chosen support person present. 

Learn more about  HIPAA


This information will help you prepare items to take when visiting the patient.

The Visitors Sign In invites visitors to leave a message.

The Story Board.  Fill in with the patient and hang on the wall so people visiting and staff can know more about the patient.

The Patient Assistant List

Prepare for the Hospital Visit


Patient Advocate Check List
The Patient Advocate Checklist helps explain the role of the advocate and the needs of the patient.  This information is from the book Family Centered Patient Advocacy which was written in collaboration with some of the finest leaders in patient safety.

Advance Directives

A one page guide to understanding advance directives

Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatments MOLST       

The Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form

US Advance Care Planning Registry (formerly the National Advance Directory Registry)

Website to help understand advance directives

Healthcare Proxy
Print and complete with someone you trust. A healthcare proxy is not the same as an advocate.  A healthcare proxy can speak for the patient when the patient can't speak for themselves. An advocate is a helper.

Tips for a Beginner Advocate

The explains 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.



Quick Guide for the Support Person

You have been asked to help a friend or family member. You aren't sure what to do, and don't have time to prepare. Here is a quick guide to patient safety.

Personal Medical Diary(Medical History)
Medical history and doctor's names, medication and procedures. Print as many as you want and put them in a folder or binder.

The Designated Medication Manager (DMM)
Support someone when getting a new medication or have someone support you and be your DMM.

STARS (Help communicating your symptoms)
When seeing your clinician be as accurate as possible when describing your symptoms, and think STARS.

Planning for Surgery  Some helpful questions to ask when you are planning surgery or a procedure


To learn how to interface better with specific or vulnerable populations who are often faced with unconscious bias.  For additional resources, go to our Healthcare Equality Project website.


We hope that this will be a place to easily find studies and information about patient safety and studies about medical errors while remembering that each number represents someone who entrusted their life or the life of a loved one to the healthcare system.   One is a Number

Tips for the Advocate When Talking to the Doctor (Or other clinician)

  • Always ask the patient if you may ask a question (the patient is in charge). When you do, this gives the patient time to think of more questions.
  • Be sure to repeat back to the doctor what was said, in words you and the patient understands. Don’t just ask the patient “yes or no” questions such as “do you understand?” Instead ask, “Tell me what you heard the doctor say.” Or you can say to the doctor "May we tell you what we heard you say?" Think of the conversation as a recipe for a cake. If you are missing information or ingredients, the information won't be complete and the cake won't come out right. Writing down information to be shared is like writing a recipe. It must be complete and understood to work.
  • Ask the patient if you should ask staff to wash their hands. If the patient wants you to, be sure to be polite and let staff members know that you “are sure they did already but . . .” you would like to see them wash before touching the patient. (Use patient’s name.) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports 90,000 people die from hospital-acquired infections each year.
  • Ask the doctor what time he/she does rounds after surgery. They may come before visiting hours. If you leave and miss a meeting with the doctor, ask for a phone call if you are the patient’s primary advocate. (Family member, close friend or caregiver). Be sure you have the patient's permission.
  • Never say "I need" always say "the patient needs" such as: the patient needs to know when she is going home or the patient needs to know when the doctor will be here.
  • Encourage the patient to know the three questions from Ask Me 3: What is my main problem? What do I need to do? Why is it important for me to do that?
  • Encourage the patient to share concerns. Do not talk about the patient without the patient being involved. Ask the patient if you could share information. "May I tell the doctor you don't like taking that medication?"

At Discharge

  • Upon discharge from a hospital or following a procedure, especially if the patient underwent anesthesia, be sure to know how to reach the doctor (or someone covering for the doctor) with more questions, such as:
  • What side effects or symptoms should be expected?
  • What if symptoms come back or get worse?
  • What is the actual diagnosis and the prognosis?
  • Make sure you understand medications and any prescriptions.
  • Note the names and phone numbers of doctors or specialists and any other people involved in the discharge.
Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy

Call us to discuss (516) 579-4711
or look for a Professional Patient Advocate


Offers access to independent, professional health / patient advocates and care managers to help you navigate the difficult and sometimes treacherous waters of the health care systems in the United States and Canada.

Greater National Advocates

Our trusted online portal allows patients and their loved ones to quickly connect with a knowledgeable independent Patient Advocate who has experience dealing with hospitals, insurance companies, doctors and long term care facilities. Our goal is to help patients and loved ones cut through the red tape and find peace of mind.


HealthAdvocateX is a national organization committed to helping youtransforminto an active participant in your care. We are committed to helping everyone understand what health advocacy is, how to boost health advocacy skills and knowledge regardless of who you are. While we do not provide direct health advocacy services, we can connect you with people who do. We specialize in inspiring people to take action through community education, health advocacy events and by connecting you to trusted health advocacy resources.

HELPFUL WEBSITES for patients, families & advocates is brought to you by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP)—the nation's only nonprofit organization of pharmacists, nurses, and doctors devoted entirely to safe medication practices. Preventing medication errors is no longer just a responsibility for health professionals—consumers like you can also play a vital role.

Drug Interactions Checker A drug interaction occurs when the effect of a particular drug is altered when it is taken with another drug, or with food. The Drug Interactions Checker explains the mechanism of each drug interaction, the level of significance of the interaction (major, moderate or minor), and in certain cases, can provide the recommended course of action to manage the interaction. The Drug Interactions Checker will also display any interaction between your chosen drug(s) and food.

U.S. Health and Human Services

Compare information
We rate the websites that help you find the right doctor, hospital, and nursing homes and we provide tips about quality concerns.​

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), is the nation’s only 501c (3) nonprofit organization devoted entirely to medication error prevention and safe medication use.

An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 18,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.

The National Family Caregivers Association educates, supports, empowers and speaks up for the more than 65 million Americans who care for loved ones with a chronic illness or disability or the frailties of old age.

NeedyMeds is a national non-profit organization that maintains a website of free information on programs that help people who can't afford medications and healthcare costs.

Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy

Helpful NY LINKS

Pulse CPSEA does not guarantee the accuracy or information of these websites but all sites listed have come highly recommended or are sites we use.


If You Have a Concern About Quality in a NY Hospital
If You Have a Concern About Quality in a NY Nursing Home
If You Have a Concern About Quality in a NY Doctor's Office
Adult Care and Assisted Living Complaints 1-866-893-6772
Home Care and Hospice Complaints 1-800-628-5972
Hospital Patient Care Complaints 1-800-804-5447
Hospital and Diagnostic and Treatment Center Complaints 1-800-804-5447
Laboratory Complaints- 1-800-682-6056
Medicaid Fraud Hotline 1-877-87FRAUD
Managed Care Complaints 1-800-206-8125
Nursing Home Patient Care Complaints- 1-888-201-4563
Professional Medical Conduct Complaints 1-800-663-6114
The Joint Commission 1-800 994-6610

Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy


Long Island 2-1-1
The mission of 2-1-1 Long Island is to provide all Long Islanders a comprehensive internet connection to human services on a day-to-day basis and in time of disaster.

NY Foundation for Senior Citizens
Respite Care Program

NY Ombudsman
The heart of the Long Term Care Ombudsmen Program is the team of certified Ombudsmen who are empowered to resolve issues surrounding the care and quality of life for people living in nursing homes and adult care facilities. Ombudsmen are there to represent the residents' interests. It is the residents' desires and needs that are considered and acted upon.

​NY State Hospital Profile
Use this site to find information about hospitals in New York State, and the quality of care they provide.

NY State Physician Profiles
Here you will find information on all licensed doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy registered to practice in New York State. Information is self-reported by the physician


One is a Number
Visit our sister site 'one is a number' for regularly updated links to studies and information about patient safety and studies about medical errors.