Healthcare Advocacy: knowledge, compassion and solutions for seniors and their families

How does a healthcare advocate help?

An advocate can improve your safety and outcomes in a variety of healthcare situations.  The following article touches on the problem of navigating the healthcare maze on your own.

Minnesota Public Radio, April 13, 2011

St. Paul, Minn. — Just this month, the journal Health Affairs released a study that found one out of every three patients admitted to a hospital suffered some kind of injury due to a medical error.

Mistakes such as the wrong dose of medication or lack of communication, for instance, can cause a variety of problems -- everything from bed sores to infections to falls to even death.

Tania Daniels, vice president for Patient Safety at the Minnesota Hospital Association, says Minnesota is in a good position to pursue demonstration projects.

Daniels says the group has already conducted a pilot program of 13 hospitals throughout the state to improve communication when patients get transferred from one facility to another. She says something as basic as putting important information in a patient's chart on top, can reduce errors.

"We were finding that some instances there were hundreds of pages of documentation that would travel with the patient, making it very difficult for that follow-up provider to find what they needed," Daniels said. "So the pilot was really to find out what is that key information that needs to be up front in the first few pages of documentation to make it easier for that follow up provider." (Key information such as if the patient is at risk for falling or when they had their last dose of medication.)

Most of these deaths and injury are among elderly patients.

Healthcare advocates support and promote patient rights and wishes in the healthcare arena. They know what to look for and what questions to ask. Healthcare is complex and ever changing, making it difficult to know if you are getting the best care.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have an advocate on your side? Often family members are unable to fulfill this crucial role because of time constraints, distance, or lack of medical knowledge.   An RN Care Manager working as your healthcare advocate is one solution, bringing together the talents of nurses, social workers, doctors, attorneys and other professionals pertinent to your unique situation. They will see to it that you or your loved one gets the very best care possible. 

Sound Options Care Managers regularly serve as advocates for their clients, helping them navigate their individual health challenges to successful conclusions with knowledge, compassion and customized solutions.  They work with patients in all settings from hospitals, rehab and nursing homes, to assisted or independent living.  Contact us today to see how an advocate can help you or someone you love.

Published on March 30, 2012.