He or she is concerned with the care patients get and their knowledge on the use of health plans. A Patient advocate can be an organization or an individual. An individual advocate may offer services that are normally provided by organizations to the individual patient.
Individual advocates liaise between the patients and the provider of the health care service. These individuals normally have a background in matters of health care or social work. They may for example have been doctors or nurses who have changed their focus. The field of nursing has specifically focused on advocacy as part of its training. It is covered as part of nursing ethics. Those with legal knowledge will also find it very relevant. Worth noting is that most of those practicing in this advocacy have a degree in a particular field.
It may primarily entail playing simple tasks such as overseeing transportation of patients or their movement into nursing homes.
There is really no special licensing or accredited certification required to be in this field. However, institutions such as universities and colleges are offering simple training to those individuals wishing to engage in these roles. They organize workshops and some even offer certificates. Advocates are obliged to follow important legislation, rules that have been established and other requirements that have been stipulated. This means that they are individually responsible for educating themselves on these issues and the basic business of medicine.
This advocacy entails playing an extremely important role when it comes to communication. He or she has to ensure that the client is fully informed on the requirements of the health provider such as the various stipulated rules and procedures. He maintains that the health care provider has all the vital medical information concerning the client. He or She links the two and therefore ensuring that the client does not undergo any unnecessary strain or anxiety hence speeding up the recovery process.
It is also incumbent upon the advocate to provide the client or family with information such as published literature that he or she thinks are necessary. The same can be extended to the health care provider. He or she also ensures that family members and other concerned parties have been informed on the progress of the patient. Another important role is ensuring the confidentiality of the client information is given priority. Unauthorized persons should not be privy to such information.Dispute solving is part of the advocacy. This involves seeking the help government agencies or even seeking justice from the court. A good example is a conflict with the insurance company.
Advocates a times sit on investigative and advisory panels of organizations that deal with different aspects of health care to ensure that decisions adopted safeguard and impact positively on the lives of their clients. They seek adoption of best practices in dealing with health care matters. Various government offices have established an office that specifically deals with matters of patient advocacy. Complains about the advocate or the health care provider or any conflict on health care for example with the insurance company may be solved here.
Personal skills are extremely important.He or she must always maintain a line between showing concern for the client and getting to much attached. Since this is an extremely difficult time for the patient, the advocate simply acts as supporter, backer, believer and even the spokesperson. Therefore this person may be a member of your family, relative, a chaplain, professional advocates or any person who can play these roles best.
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