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Choose the Health Care Advocate – Just Right for You
seniors need a health advocate to help them look out for their best interests and to navigate
Empowering the health care advocate. Here’s what the advocate needs to know: It is a privilege to be asked to advocate for another. It is challenging and rewarding, and sometimes can be intimidating, to be part of their voice. It is a role that should not be taken lightly.
Prior to heading to a scheduled doctor visit, it is important to ask about all the issues your loved one is experiencing in order for care solu- tions to be most effective. These conversations can sometimes be difficult, even embarrassing, but you must ask about body changes, new symptoms, medications, and even challenges with activities of daily living.
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.
Part of your role may be education, which includes helping your loved one to understand what’s happening but also the health care provider.
Finally, you may also need to help manage health insurance and medical bills.
Always carry legal documents with you to appointments, especially to a new provider. 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 contact is import- ant. 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 you can reach out to other staff on site such as a social worker or discharge planner for care support. In an adult care facility the Ombudsman can be your greatest support. You can turn to Medicare and submit a variety of complaints
and request follow up. You can reach out to other family or friends for personal support. Furthermore, 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 happens, be willing to accept that it is not a personal defeat. Your loved knows that you will do what can, until you can’t.
the health care system. Essentially, the health care advocate becomes the voice of loved ones at a time when they feel most vulnerable. It’s
the advocate’s role to ensure wishes are met whether it’s maintaining independence, receiving care in the comfort and familiarity of home, or treatment plan options.
When you ask someone to be your health advocate you also need to know that it comes with responsibilities. Most important is that they know what your wishes are as it relates to health care and that they are able to make the choices you would want if you are unable to make them. You must share wishes to empower them to act on your behalf; legal documents are important as well.
Choose an advocate that knows you, is discreet but assertive, that is prepared to learn what is necessary so they can act on your behalf. They must be willing to effectively com- municate between care providers and receivers, question care and conditions requiring care, and facilitate choices when necessary. If they cannot make the tough decisions, someone else might be a better choice.
Small town atmosphere. Big city results.
Attorney at Law
Estate Planning & Elder Law
130 East Columbia Avenue Battle Creek, MI 49015
Beginning with Lewis W. Schroeder,
our law firm has been serving its clients and the Marshall community since 1921. Representing families and businesses in all of their legal matters, Schroeder DeGraw, PLLC offers its clients big city capabilities in a small town atmosphere.
• Agriculture
• Banking
• Business
• Creditor/Debtor matters
• Civil Litigation
• Criminal Defense • Estate & Trust
Administration • Estate & Trust
• Family Law
• Municipal Law • Personal Injury • Real Estate
• Tax Preparation
203 East Michigan Avenue, Marshall, Michigan 49068 1-269-781-9851 •
Attorneys: Ronald J. DeGraw, David J. DeGraw, Lisa A. McNiff, Brock R. Veenhuis, Katy C. Reed

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