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Patient Advocates

What Can an Independent Advocate do for you? 

If you have ever experienced a crisis, you know you are not often thinking clearly about the decisions you must make at the time. It seems like there is so much to take care of, so much to consider, all at once. There is no time for thinking about implications, planning or even taking a breath sometimes. ADVOCACY is about stepping in, upon invitation, and helping you during those events.

In crisis situations, experienced Advocates know the way to get done what you need. They know the questions to ask and the way to get the answers. YOU make the decisions, Advocates provide the information you need to help with those decisions. You get the information is a way that is less stressful, less time consuming and less confusing. Having better tools for decisions that are sometimes not easy, but can be made better, comes with the help of an Advocate.

In the midst of an unexpected health crisis, an Advocate can help you navigate the health care system. Do you need a physician? Are your medication needs being met? Are you getting timely information from health care providers. Are your expectations for care clearly communicated and negotiated to your health care team? Advocates help in these areas.  

An Advocate clears up communication difficulties between patients, family, and care givers. In long term care situations, where misunderstandings or changes have happened that are not clear to everyone, this is a vital role.

Different roles, different goals

  • Internal patient advocates, who can work as liaisons between the care team and the patient with the interests of the health care system in mind;
  • Cancer patient navigators, often RNs, who help patients coping with chemotherapy and the aftermath of diagnosis find their way through the complex cancer treatment system. 
  • When you cannot speak for yourself, your personal directive provides a voice for you.  An Advocate, upon invitation, assists this spokesperson, as needed.  

Independent Advocates work with the patient’s interests first.  They help the patient improve the health care system for their own care and for everyone’s better care.  These Independent Advocates also deal with adverse events, when the health care system does not want to face their error.   

When an adverse event occurs, a death or an error occurs causes harm. An Advocate helps the family prepare for communicating with the health care providers to find out what went wrong. They ask questions. They stimulate discussion.  Together with the family, they ensure that such an error or adverse event can not occur again, thus preventing people in the future from suffering their grief.

For more about Advocacy and Coaching , keep reading my blog.

And for an Independent Advocate, be in touch with me or

Open Arms Patient Advocacy Society at


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