Elder Care and the Law: What It Means To Be A Healthcare Advocate
When it comes to elder care and the law, you may have heard the terms ‘healthcare advocate’ and/or ‘patient advocate.’
These terms are used interchangeably in addition to medical advocate, patient liaison, patient representative, and health advocate. They all basically mean the same thing when it comes to elder care and the law. The role of a healthcare advocate, no matter what they are called where you live, is always the same. This role includes helping a patient communicate with their healthcare providers. With a healthcare advocate, the patient gets the information they need to make decisions about their health care.
Who Needs A Healthcare Advocate
Anyone having to navigate the increasingly complex and confusing healthcare system may benefit from the services of a healthcare advocate. However, some seniors and those who are cognitively challenged definitely need someone to function in this role on their behalf. In fact, the law says that you need a healthcare advocate if you have difficulty in any one of these areas:
- Understanding relevant information
- Retaining information
- Using or weighing information (for example being able to see the advantages or disadvantages in different options)
- Communicating your views, wishes and feelings.
Also, a healthcare advocate helps anyone of any age with a serious chronic illness. It allows them to have more time to focus on healing. Having some else taking care of the mundane setting of appointments and dealing with the insurance companies frees their attention.
Who Can Be A Healthcare Advocate
A healthcare advocate could be a family member, friend, trusted coworker, or a hired professional. The idea is to select someone who can ask questions, write down information, and speak up for you so you can better understand your illness and get the care and resources you need. This gives the patient greater opportunity to focus on getting better.
If you select a family member or friend to be your healthcare advocate, make sure they are up to the task. Otherwise, you may want to reach out to your hospital, insurance company, or attorney to find someone to work with your best interests at heart. It’s an important role to perform and should be taken seriously.
Paid healthcare advocates know the ins and outs of the bureaucratic healthcare systems that can be overwhelming to anyone who is sick and has to navigate it on their own. Many advocates help patients set up appointments for doctor visits and medical tests, and get financial, legal, and social support. Patient advocates may also help patients set up appointments for doctor visits and medical tests and get financial, legal, and social support.
We Provide Elder Care Legal Information About The Duties Of A Healthcare Advocate
You can find many online services that provide healthcare advocates by location and often you can select an advocate that specializes in specific diseases. However, you go about your selection process, if you have questions about what to expect from a healthcare advocate, give my office a call at 404-370-0696. We can guide you through what to expect based on your specific needs. And, if necessary, we can help you select and draw up legal documents for a Durable Power of Attorney for healthcare.