A health advocate can be a professional with a healthcare background, or could simply be a family friend who is willing to serve as a liaison on the behalf of the patient. Most importantly, a health advocate is the voice of the person in their care. The advocate ensures the best interests and the health of the senior always come first.
Perhaps they struggle to understand their provider’s instructions or aren’t comfortable asking questions. Or maybe they are uncomfortable discussing symptoms or aren’t confident enough to insist on medications/treatments they need. In addition to any of this, it is difficult to piece it all together when you are seeing multiple providers for a variety of conditions.
What does a health advocate bring to the proverbial table?
- Ask questions or voice concerns at your provider visits
- Compile/update your medications list
- Provide/arrange transportation
- Research treatment options, procedures, providers, and hospitals
- Complete insurance and provider paperwork
- Negotiate medical bills and resolve billing errors
- Discuss major prognoses with family members
If you decide to hire a professional, it is important to remember that there is no formal credentialing process for health advocates. Interview potential candidates to ensure that they ‘match’ with your loved one, in terms of both goals and personality. Check references too, and negotiate rates based on your needs. You may even want to look for an advocate that specializes in geriatric care because they will have the experience you need. Some employers offer advocacy programs as part of their benefits package. Even if they don’t, they might provide assistance with a search through an EAP or similar program.
Do you have questions finding a health advocate for your loved one? Feel free to contact us for advice. We’re happy to answer any questions you have. We can even find a health advocate that best suits your loved one’s situation.