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 The Health Care Advocate – Your Support System
The health care advocate can help a senior to look out for their best interests and to navigate the health care system. Essentially, the advocate becomes the voice of a loved one at a time when they feel most vulnerable. It’s the advocate’s role to ensure wishes are met regarding independence, receiving care in their home, or treatment plan options. Instead of hoping our loved ones are receiving the compassionate and essential care they deserve, advocating for them empowers you to ensure their wishes are met.
When you are asked to be a health advocate you also need to know that it comes with responsibilities. Most important is that you know your loved one's wishes are as it relates to health care and that you are able to make the choices they would want if they are unable to make them. If you cannot make the tough decisions, someone else might be a better choice.
Even as a strong advocate, the process can be intimidating.
As a health advocate it is important to ask about all the issues a loved one is ex- periencing before you head to a scheduled doctors visit. These conversations can
sometimes be difficult, even embarrassing, but you must ask nonetheless. Questions should include symptoms, behaviors, medications, mental status, and so on.
Part of your role may be education, which includes helping your loved one
to understand what’s happening but
also the health care provider. While at an appointment take clear notes, intercede in the conversation when needed, and ask questions that need to be asked. Having an extra set of trusted eyes and ears that understands your loved one’s wishes can help support them in their decisions, help them make decisions, or to intercede when health providers are not doing what was decided on. You may even want to research medical conditions and potential treatment options, or request a second opinion. Finally, you may also need to help manage health insurance and medical bills.
Legal documentation can make all the difference when advocating for a loved one. An elder law attorney can help you complete the patient advocate designation paperwork, sometimes called a durable power of attorney for health care as well as advance directives documentation. Provid- ers may require you to complete additional
paperwork. Having legal documents on hand can insure that provider-specific paperwork can be completed more easily.
Always carry legal documents with you. Make sure all providers have your contact information.
Sometimes you must be assertive to keep yourself in the decision-making loop. If your loved one is hospitalized, daily con- tact is important. In fact, there is nothing like being there in person to make sure you are in the loop of care choices.
If you are experiencing challenges with care provided, or a lack of care, you can reach out to other staff such as a social worker or discharge planner. In an adult care facility the Ombudsman can be your greatest support. Medicare has a variety of options. You can reach out to other family or friends for personal support. Further- more, you can reach out to their elder law attorney for legal support.
Lastly, be aware that no matter what you do the outcome for your loved one may not be what you hoped. If that hap- pens, be willing to accept that it is not a personal defeat. Your loved knows that you will do what can until you can’t.
Stacey Lott
Attorney at Law
Estate Planning & Elder Law
130 East Columbia Avenue Battle Creek, MI 49015
Elderly Law | Wills, Trusts | Real Estate | Bankruptcy Guardianship & Conservatorship | Power of Attorney Family Law | Probate & Trust Administration
How Do You Know Who To Choose? Should you select us?
Maybe. We’ve served many people and businesses since our inception in 1943. Our reputation has helped us to become one of the oldest firms in the area. We would like to serve you if we can. YOUR JUDGMENT OF US IS OUR REPUTATION!
Battle Creek Office
70 Michigan Avenue West Suite 450
(269) 965-7000
Coldwater Office
28 West Chicago Street Suite 2B
(517) 278-0500

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