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Patient Advocacy

There are many things that change for a person as they grow older, which includes managing memory loss issues, complicated medical problems, and medications. Elderly patient advocates are professionals who can help the patient understand and handle these things. Their whole purpose is to ensure the patient’s care is looked after no matter who is actually caring for them.

What Makes a Patient Advocate Qualified?

There are several things that will ensure the patient advocate you could choose is qualified for the job. This includes a background in the medical industry specifically. This medical background will help them better understand the health problems and medication that the elderly patient may need. In some cases, it is best to find a patient advocate who has a background in a specific type of medicine. For example, if the elderly loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, the care needed will be very specific, and the advocate should have a background in dementia issues.

Often, patient advocates are registered nurses who have spent years at their job, so they will have extensive experience in health conditions, medication, and patient management.

In some cases, the elderly patient could also choose to make one of their loved ones the advocate. This may make the patient feel more comfortable because they can talk openly with their advocate. However, it is unlikely that the person will have any type of medical background or experience with elder advocacy, so there can be some disadvantages to this decision.

Choosing the Right Elder Advocate

It is important to choose the absolute best patient advocate for your elderly loved one and there are some things you need to go over for anyone you are seriously considering for the assignment. These things include the following:

  • Only choose an advocate you feel you can trust.
  • Ensure you are comfortable communicating with the advocate.
  • Consider the background of the potential advocate. It is best if it is in the medical field in some way.
  • Ensure the advocate will be able to help with the specific needs of the patient.
  • Ensure your elderly loved one is comfortable talking with the advocate about medical needs and concerns.
  • Choose an advocate who will be able to go with the patient to appointments and other medical exams.
  • Ensure that the advocate has a method of recording information about the patient’s medical appointments and healthcare.
  • Look for an advocate who knows how to explain patient medical conditions to the family.

When you look at these concerns, you should find it much easier to narrow down your choices and choose the very best patient advocate possible.

Patient Advocate Abuse

While it is very rare, there are times when patient advocates may abuse their position and this can be very damaging to the loved one. Abuse could include negligence, lack of care, or even intentional harm. Again, this is very rare, but it is important for anyone to stay active in the life of the loved one even after a patient advocate has been hired. This way, you can watch for signs or concerns.

The best way to avoid even the possibility of advocacy abuse is to carefully select the right person and to actually follow up on references. If possible, speak with people who have worked with the advocate in the past and ensure the person gets good reviews. You need to ensure you choose someone who is reliable and who will be available as much as possible to always look after the best interests of your loved one. This is not something that can be taken lightly, and hiring the right advocate can actually minimize anxiety on your elderly loved one when it comes to their care and wellbeing.

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