Most patients are too overcome to think about what they need.
They may not know what they need, and they may feel embarrassed.
2 Attend the doctor appointments.
It's important to be there right from the beginning. It's helpful for doctors to be aware of who you are and that you are advocating for this person. They are much more likely to answer your questions, etc., if they expect that you will be at most of the appointments.
3 Take notes, take notes, take notes. Buy a notebook that you will use for only this purpose. Write down suggestions from the doctor, medications, terminology, questions you have and future appointments. Doing this frees up the patient to digest what the doctor is saying, knowing that if they miss something, you will tell them later.
4 Ask questions . Since the doctor is there for the patient, allow them to speak between one another. But if the patient isn't asking questions that you have, ask them.
5 Get copies of all tests. Before you leave, be sure ask the doctor for copies of all tests. They won't offer them, so you need to ask. Having them is tremendously helpful when visiting other doctors.
6 After the appointment, go over the notes. After the appointment, sit down and reread your notes to the patient so they understand everything. Write down any questions you or they may have for future appointments.
Choose your battles. It can be just as difficult for you, a spouse, an adult child or a close friend to digest everything that's being said by the doctors. Doctors need to focus on the patient. The more silent and educated you are, the more the doctor will appreciate your questions and your patient advocate’s presence at the visit.
Be as respectful of their time as you want them to be of yours. Be prepared with a list of your concerns and insist on answers. Explain the role of your patient advocate.
Later you will be able to assess your own needs and create an action plan
Understanding who you are…. Frances has a lot of problems. Eilish can’t communicate well. Herman can’t be understood. Susan lives alone. Everyone speaks for Jack. Self Description Yes No Maybe Do you like to get involved in other peoples problems? Do you like to be in control? Do you like to be responsible? Do you like caring for others? Do you like to listen to what others are saying?
Your Physical Side…. Trudy is caring for her family. Joan is always on call. Rhona’s the sounding board . Self Description Yes No Maybe Are you in good health? Are you physically able to care for yourself or someone else? Are your health care needs being met?
Your Emotional /Social Side Shirley can count on Max. Lori likes approval. ADD YOUR Yes, No and Maybe Columns Self Description Yes No Maybe Have your feelings changed due to an event or over time? Are all your needs being met by family or friends?
If you have 8-10 Yes answers; Congratulations! You are prepared to speak for yourself and others. You may want to join groups of Advocates to find more resources.
If you have 5-7 Yes answers; Congratulations! You are on the right track. You are getting prepared to take responsibility for your health care and that of others. A Professional Patient Advocate can provide guidance.
If you have 0-5 Yes answers; Congratulations! You have taken the first steps towards becoming a Patient Advocate by recognizing that you need help in developing and prioritizing a plan. A Professional Patient Advocate can help you or can provide you with Advocacy services.