Healthcare advocacy is a process where a person accompanies someone else to visits with doctors and other medical professionals. A healthcare advocate can be a valuable resource for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few examples.
Catching All the Details
Even if you have an impressive knowledge of a particular medical subject, it can be challenging to catch all the details that are flying around during a consultation. Simply having a healthcare advocate in the room with you can increase the chances that a problem with something like a treatment plan will be spotted. Two heads are always better than one, and it's great to have someone there who can ask a doctor to pump the breaks so a topic can be broached a second time.
Although folks involved with healthcare advocacy aren't substitutes for doctors and specialists, they can bring experience and knowledge to the table. Particularly when dealing with unique situations you haven't encountered before, such as the beginning of chemo or making choices about hospice care, it can be advantageous to have someone advising you who has been involved in these conversations before.
People who are suffering from certain types of dementia may struggle to follow the conversations going on during medical consultations. A healthcare advocate can make sure that someone facing such challenges has a trusted adviser present to explain things and help them sort through options.
Mental Health Concerns
Similar concerns arise when people suffer from some mental health conditions. These include dealing with concerns involving the comprehension of dense medical topics and emotional response to discussions. Likewise, the advocate can help lessen some of the sense of unquestioned authority that comes with working with a medical professional dealing with someone who has mental or emotional problems. This can reduce the risk that tunnel vision well set in during the decision-making process.
It is easy for medical professionals to focus on certain problems and solutions. That's great when you need them to be narrowly focused, but it can be dangerous when a situation might call for some degree of exploration and consideration. A second person in the room can make a patient feel more confident in bouncing ideas back at a doctor, nurse or specialist. By fleshing ideas out in a more open exchange among three or more people, healthcare advocacy is intended to improve patient outcomes.