The Role of the Patient Advocate
What is a patient advocate?
An advocate is a "supporter, believer, sponsor, promoter, campaigner, backer or spokesperson."
An effective advocate is someone who is willing to act on your behalf as well as someone who can work well with other members of your health care team, such as your doctors and nurses.
An advocate may be a member of your family, such as a spouse, a child, another family member, or a close friend. Another type of advocate is a professional advocate. Social workers, nurses and Home Care agencies also fill this role.
An advocate can be very helpful in cutting through red tape!
Using an Advocate
- Select a person you can communicate with and that you trust
- It is important to pick someone who is assertive and who has good communication skills
- Decide what you want help with and what you want to handle on your own
For example,you may want help with the following:
- Clarifying your options for hospitals, doctors, diagnostic tests and procedures or treatment choices
- Getting information or asking specific questions
- Writing down information that you receive from your caregivers, as well as any questions that you may have.
- Assuring that your wishes are carried out when you may not be able to do that by yourself.
Decide if you would like your advocate to accompany you to tests, appointments, treatments, or procedures. If so, insist that our doctor and other caregivers allow this.
Be clear with your advocate about what you would like them to know and be involved in, such as treatment decisions, any change in your condition, test results, or keeping track of medications.
Let your physician and those caring for you know who your advocate is and how you want them involved in your care.
Arrange for your designated advocate to be the spokesperson for the rest of your family and make sure your other family members know this. This will provide a consistent communication link for your caregivers and can help to minimize confusion and misunderstandings within your family.
Make sure your doctor and nurses have your advocate's phone number and make sure your advocate has the numbers for your providers, hospitals and pharmacy, as well as anyone else you may want to contact in case of an emergency.
RAC* Services for Outpatient Surgeries
* Responsible Adult Companion
What are RAC Services?
- The RAC (Responsible Adult Companion) provides patients transportation to and from surgery
- Helps the patient as needed with dressing
- Receives discharge instructions from surgery center
- Fills prescriptions for patient
- Escorts the patient safely home
- Stays with the patient as necessary after surgery
- Communicates discharge instructions to family
- Available for 24 hrs per phone to help as needed
* Should an emergency arise relating to the surgery, the RAC will transport the patient back to the surgery center or to the nearest emergency room, whichever option is deemed more appropriate by the driver.
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