When Do You Need a Patient Advocate?
Health and healthcare are private, yet extremely important issues that affect your life every day. If you aren’t feeling well, that affects your mood. If you have a headache, you’re less likely to be productive. If you’re worried about your health or that of a loved one, that stress can lead to more illness and frustration.
Who are you supposed to turn to when your healthcare situation gets out-of-hand, like you aren’t staying on top or your bills (even afraid to open them) or you haven’t researched adequate treatment options and you’re scared to confront the doctor? Patient advocates are an invaluable resource during troubling health experiences.
When might hiring a patient advocate make sense?
1. You’re overwhelmed with your bills.
2. You recently obtained power of attorney of the health of a family member or loved one.
3. You feel “stuck.” You aren’t receiving answers to questions on care or insurance and are unsure of what to do next.
4. You have a chronic condition that requires constant monitoring.
5. You receive advice/an opinion and it doesn’t make sense to you.
6. You are told that no options exist.
What is a patient advocate?
A patient advocate will help you sort through your bills and develop a personal health record or portfolio of all your important health information. A patient advocate will research treatment options with you and provide multiple physicians/other resources in your area or that best treat your condition. A patient advocate will also contact insurance carries and providers on your behalf to sort through your healthcare finances.
Remember a patient advocate can truly be a life saver. However, all patient advocacy services are not alike. Research the advocacy organization and know the credentials of your advocate.
Good luck and great health!