Search Box Here
HEALTH CAT COLUMN
Be PreparedWhat You Need to Know About Your MedicationsBefore taking any medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist about how, when and where to take your medications. Ask about side effects, allergic reactions and other potential risks regarding your prescribed medications.Winter Back SafetyAvoid injuries this holiday season by following these safety tips.5 Medical Questions and Answers You Should KnowHere's a quick Q&A for better health.Choosing a Pharmacy and PharmacistHere are questions to consider when selecting a pharmacy and pharmacist.Medical History and Vaccinations Data SheetBring a copy of this to medical appointments, especially if you are meeting with a new physician or specialist. Creating a Family Medical HistoryCreating a family medical history tree is similar, except instead of birthplaces, your tree will track family diseases, medical conditions and allergies.Using Online PharmaciesWhat to know about online pharmacies.Social Worker FAQsHere is useful information about social workers and how they can help you.Patient Advocate FAQsCommunication between patients, family members, friends, doctors and nurses is tiring and confusing. Here are a few helpful tips from fellow caregivers, doctors and nurses regarding what the role is for advocates.Your Medical Records Are Going Hi-TechMany hospitals are nixing paper altogether – meaning that they'll no longer keep written charts of each patient's visit, conditions, medications, etc. and instead rely on computerized technology.
HEALTH AD SPACE

Patient Advocate FAQs

Communication between patients, family members, friends, doctors and nurses is tiring and confusing. Here are a few helpful tips from fellow caregivers, doctors and nurses regarding what the role is for advocates.

What is a patient advocate?

An advocate will act as the mediator between the patient and the hospital or health care team and be the patient's primary spokesperson.

An advocate isn't required, but he or she may help improve communication between everyone. This person can also be the main contact for family and friends and the go-between for the patient and hospital team.

WHN Tip: Advocate on Staff
A patient advocate doesn't have to be a family member – many hospitals have patient advocates on staff so ask about this option. However, it's still a good idea to have a primary family contact for communication.

Advocate 101

Considering acting as an advocate for a friend or family member? Here's what to know:

It's a tough job. You'll need to communicate wishes and requests on the patient's behalf, help set up family visits, fill out mounds of paperwork and so on.

You need to be organized. Set up a binder, log or diary before heading to the hospital with the following documents and information:

  • Bills, paperwork, receipts: advocates can also meet with the hospital's billing officers to discuss finances.
  • Important contact numbers (family, friends, insurance agent, primary physician, health care providers, attorney)
  • Insurance information/card
  • Legal documents (living wills, health care directives)
  • List of medications and supplements
  • History and records of tests, procedures, treatments
  • The names and titles of the patient's health care team, contact details and who to contact when off-duty

Some information may be unclear or confusing to you. Take notes and ask plenty of questions if you don't understand something.

WHN Expert Tip: Learn to speak "hospital"- even just a little.
"
Machines have names. So do nurses. Calling people and things by their right name supports speedy and compassionate care." Jari Holland Buck, author of the Hospital Stay Handbook.

You'll need help. Designate advocate "helpers" who can cover for you so you can rest and take care of yourself. Set up shifts or ask for someone to help with care at the hospital, if needed. Ask family members and friends to help with tasks like lawn care, child care, food preparation and so on. Setting up a schedule to help out with these things can really make a difference.

WHN Tip: Establish a consistent or timely update for the family.
It is often easiest to tape record each doctor's visit as well as your questions, and then transcribe the main developments in an e-mail to appropriate family and friends. Or create a CarePage (a social networking tool for patients and families) to post news and updates.

Other Tips

When you can, help the nursing staff. "There is a tremendous shortage of nurses at the moment," says Jari Holland Buck, author of the Hospital Stay Handbook. "Many things can be done by a visitor to assist the nurse such as securing bedding, running errands for the staff or patient, filling water pitchers, assisting with patient food intake, notifying the nurse when alarms sound (do NOT touch the equipment!), securing supplies, etc."

Other Health Pages
Be Prepared5 Medical Questions and Answers You Should Know

Here's a quick Q&A for better health.

 Read More
Choosing a Pharmacy and Pharmacist

Here are questions to consider when selecting a pharmacy and pharmacist.

 Read More
Creating a Family Medical History

Creating a family medical history tree is similar, except instead of birthplaces, your tree will track family diseases, medical conditions and allergies.

 Read More
Medical History and Vaccinations Data Sheet

Bring a copy of this to medical appointments, especially if you are meeting with a new physician or specialist.

 Read More
Patient Advocate FAQs

Communication between patients, family members, friends, doctors and nurses is tiring and confusing. Here are a few helpful tips from fellow caregivers, doctors and nurses regarding what the role is for advocates.

 Read More
Social Worker FAQs

Here is useful information about social workers and how they can help you.

 Read More
Using Online Pharmacies

What to know about online pharmacies.

 Read More
What You Need to Know About Your Medications

Before taking any medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist about how, when and where to take your medications. Ask about side effects, allergic reactions and other potential risks regarding your prescribed medications.

 Read More
Winter Back Safety

Avoid injuries this holiday season by following these safety tips.

 Read More
Your Medical Records Are Going Hi-Tech

Many hospitals are nixing paper altogether – meaning that they'll no longer keep written charts of each patient's visit, conditions, medications, etc. and instead rely on computerized technology.

 Read More