Senior Living

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Health & Spirit

Patient Advocates

Doug Mayberry on

Q: My doctor told me that I should get a hip replacement, and I am on board with the plan after several years of pain. Even though it's a major operation, I am looking forward to having a working hip.

My insurance approved me to go to a rehab facility post-surgery, which will help me recover and be able to use my hip better.

When I told neighbors in my retirement home, they told me I should get a health advocate. I don't know anything about it, though.

Do I need a health advocate? And if so, how do I choose one?

A: A patient advocate will help you assert your medical needs and make sure that they are met.

We've all heard a horror story from someone about a terrible medical experience, and the idea of going into a facility can be intimidating. Having a patient advocate will make it more likely that you have a good experience.

 

Staff in rehab facilities are often inundated with work. Although people who go into the medical field want to help their patients, it can be hard for them to keep up with everyone. Your advocate will help bridge this gap.

An advocate can help you with logistics such as medical questions and concerns, medication lists and regimens, paperwork and other details you might overlook while dealing with your health.

When choosing an advocate, you will want to look for a few things: This person should be detail oriented, calm and able to clearly communicate their questions and get answers. Ideally, this person will be local and able to visit or attend appointments with you.

Your advocate should know about your medical history, so find someone who knows you well or who you are comfortable sharing this information with.

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