While some people are born medical advocates, others may fall into the position by default in their families. Instead of bregrudging the responsibility, it could be your chance to really effect change in the life of your relative. You could make his/her life less complicated. Wouldn’t you like to take away some of the chronic sufferings?
These would be my recommendations for new advocates:
- Keep a separate medical calendar to jot down new symptoms as they occur, medical notes and procedures.
- Always have a current list of doctors (phone numbers) and medications (dosage, frequency included) to take to office visits or an emergency room.
- After surgeries, please stay with your family member until after they’ve been escorted to a hospital room. Make certain they’re given the proper medications. This may require you to be forceful with nurses regarding pain management because they don’t take the word of the patient. (An unfortunate by-product of the opioid epidemic crack-down created a problem for people who need the medications temporarily.)
- Please help your family member communicate challenges at the facility or with staff.
- Ask doctors, pharmacists, and nurses for side-effects of medicine and procedures.
- Be involved with the day-to-day inner workings of home therapies, care workers, and medication schedules.
- Discuss your loved one’s desires for end-of-life decisions, if they can make those choices.
With many disabling medical conditions, is a loss of cognitive functions i.e. memory, speech, processing information. Your loved one’s life may depend on you becoming the best advocate you can be.
Learn from them before you walk into what feels like a battle. It is an honorable quest that will improve the quality of life of your family member who fights an invisible foe each day 24/7.
This is a national patient advocacy foundation for you to become more knowledgable regarding medical issues. https://www.patientadvocate.org/