Have you ever gone to a medical appointment and had a difficult time understanding what the doctor or specialist was telling you?Have you ever felt confused about the information you heard? Have you ever wondered why you didn’t know about an alternative procedure, therapy or treatment?
My mother was age 88, living independently in her own home and driving to her New England village daily for grocery’s (she grew up during the Great Depression) when she developed hypertension. All of a sudden she was going to the doctor multiple frequently, because she was having side effects from the medication prescribed. After trying 3 different medications with 3 different side effects, she threw up her hands and decided to stop taking any of them. A neighbor saw that she was disoriented and took her to the Cape Cod emergency room.
Fast forward: my mother ended up in the ICU, with endoscopy and blood transfusion. All because she had forgotten to take her daily dose of Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) and then decided to double the dose to make up for it. Between ages 88 and 93, although still independent and highly intelligent, she would become every increasingly frustrated with her visits to the doctor. She was not accustomed to being in need of continuous medical supervision; the doctors were impatient and not listening; the doctors didn’t have time to answer her questions. It was during this time that I began to accompany her to her doctor’s appointments. She was correct. The doctor did not have time to answer her questions or time. Period. I made point of carrying a note pad and paper and interestingly enough, when I asked questions, the doctor stopped and took time to explain. Granted, I had a background of medical school training, which undoubtedly helped. But I was also able to understand what my mother’s concerns were and address them one by one. I realized at that point, that EVERYONE, particularly a senior citizen, needs a patient advocate to help him or her navigate the unknown aspects of aging, medical diagnoses and medical systems and to facilitate decisions regarding viable healthcare options. Which is why I would like to be your patient advocate, to educate and empower you to know your patient rights and to receive the best possible health care available.
Reasons to have a Patient Advocate
- To help you process complex medical information
- To help you understand all procedures and treatments available
- To facilitate doctor-patient conversations in patient-friendly language.
- To help you evaluate your medical needs
- To help you form a medical plan
- To help you to determine the best solutions and pathways for care
- To help you make better decisions