It is not easy to navigate the healthcare system, nor is it a given that you will be “heard” by your physicians. A large focus of our work is in the realm of Patient Advocacy where we assist with the often-cumbersome process of obtaining and conveying accurate information within the medical profession.
At the patient’s request, or when family is not available to assist, we attend doctors’ appointments with older adults (or anyone with challenges) in order assure their needs are met. In this regard, we:
- Ask the patient (and their family), in advance, to tell us their questions and concerns for an upcoming doctor’s appointment.
- Create a bullet-point list of everything that needs to be addressed, including, of course, our own concerns.
- Make certain that each question or topic area is covered before leaving the MD appointment.
- Assure that information from patient to MD is reported accurately and that the patient hears MD’s orders/comments.
- Make certain that those with hearing impairment and/or memory challenges, etc., are “heard” by the MDs.
- Schedule follow up appointments with doctors and specialists.
- Follow through on doctors’ orders, such as medication changes, additional lab work, radiology scans, etc.
- Summarize each MD visit and disseminate information to patient and family (if that is their wish).
- Meet patients in hospital settings, confer with MDs, nurses, social workers, discharge planners.
- Help with securing appropriate level of care upon discharge from hospital.
- Work with long term care insurance companies to obtain reimbursement for care.
- Act as eyes and ears for adult children or other friends/family who may not be nearby.