What is a patient advocate? A patient advocate is someone that the patient trusts to help with different aspects of healthcare decisions and treatments. A patient advocate should be someone that you trust, can depend on, is responsible and reliable, someone who has good communication skills and who will look out for your best interests at all times.

Deciding On Your Patient Advocate

Sometimes it is hard to determine who the best fit would be, but there is a checklist of absolute qualities that could make your decision easier. A patient advocate needs to be someone who believes in you, supports you, trusts you, respects you and listens to what you have to say. The advocate should also be reliable, understanding, have good communication skills, be trustworthy, be responsible, be someone who can attend the appointments that you need him/her there for and most importantly he/she must understand why you want or need him/her there with you and for you.

Importance of a Patient Advocate

No one knows what the future holds, so it is important to have someone that you can depend on to help you through the hard times. Whether you fall ill or you are involved in an accident, a patient advocate is there to help to make things easier for you and your loved ones. Many people let their emotions get in the way of their decisions, but a patient advocate will be there to insure that all of the decisions made will be upheld to what you have previously discussed and agreed upon.

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What a Patient Advocate Can Do For You

A patient advocate will be able to make decisions based on the power that you have given. By notifying your physicians and healthcare providers, you will make the advocate's job much easier, and everyone will be on the same page as to what the advocate's limitations are. You can also use a lawyer or notary to ensure that the advocate that you choose will keep responsibility in case of more dire circumstances. More often than not, family members want to dictate what should and should not happen, but with proper paperwork in order, there will be no arguing and bickering over the little things while you are trying to recover.

A patient advocate is someone who will always make decisions that are in your best interest. He/she will put his/her feelings aside and focus on the instructions that you have provided. The physicians and the advocate will work together to ensure that you are taken care of in the manner that you have pre-set. While it can be helpful to have a family member be your advocate, it is also important to know that the family member could truly uphold his/her end of the bargain. The advocate has to be able to make unbiased decisions, no matter how serious or dire the situation becomes.