Dear Nurses, We Are Here to Help

For the second time in just a few days, I’ve learned from an AdvoConnection advocate member that a nurse has become defensive and territorial in reaction to his choice of career. Now, please know that I’m not dogging on all nurses. Not all all. Instead I’m looking at this as an opportunity to clarify – for everyone’s benefit, not just nurses’. Last week I answered the question, “Does a patient advocate have to be a nurse?”? The question came in response to an experience where nurses had actually looked down their noses at another advocate, a non-nurse, suggesting she did …

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Do I Have to Be a Nurse to Be a Patient Advocate?

The answer is simple. No. So why do I ask this question> Earlier this month, while attending the NAHAC Conference, the question was asked by a number of people. As if the qualification to be an effective patient advocate relied on a nursing education. Now please don’t get me wrong. I am a huge supporter of nurses and nursing, in its many important forms. I’ve written many times at About.com about nurses, nurse practitioners, and why I believe training as a nurse is far more patient-centered than other forms of medical training. Most of my commentary comes from my appreciation …

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Read About AdvoConnection Patient Advocates in O Magazine!

AdvoConnection’s advocates were thrilled to have been included in an article called Someone on Your Side (A new prescription for navigating the medical maze) in the August 2010 issue of O Magazine. The article begins with a patient story. Tracy Cloninger figured out what so many patients do — that the healthcare system just isn’t paying enough attention. When her endocrinologist failed to schedule her radiation treatments for her thyroid cancer, Tracy hired Hari Khalsa, the Health Whisperer (patient advocate located in Massachusetts.) Gail Gazelle, MD, from MD Can Help was quoted extensively in the article as well. Gail pointed …

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What Does a Patient Advocate Do?

That’s a good question — what does a patient advocate do? And there are a handful of answers, depending on the kind of help you need. Some advocates help you with insurance claims, or review your hospital bills, then negotiate those that are wrong. Others might sit with you at home while you convalesce, or help you understand a difficult diagnosis and an extended list of treatment options. In fact, there’s a long list of services patients or health advocates might provide. Most of these are simple to understand, because this kind of help has actually been around for awhile. …

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AdvoConnection Blog Launch

As Every Patient’s Advocate, the most frequent request I hear is to try to make a connection between a patient, or the loved one of a patient, and someone who can help navigate medical care on behalf of that patient. Here is a list of the kinds of services they request: Preparation for the doctor’s appointment Accompaniment to doctor’s appointments, tests and procedures Medical research to learn more about diagnoses and treatment options Translating medical language (medspeak) Navigating HIPAA laws and privacy matters Insurance choices, filings, negotiations Elder care / geriatric care Home health services Organization / administration / paperwork …

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