What is health advocacy?

During difficult illnesses and injuries, navigating the healthcare system can be quite challenging. When you are ill or injured, it takes all of your energy just to recover. You shouldn’t have to oversee your healthcare treatment plan or deal with billing and insurance.

Fortunately, you don’t have to. Health advocacy is focused on bridging the gap between the healthcare system and patients. Professionals called health advocates are trained to help you navigate the system. They are on your side and can help with recovery and support. They are your voice in the medical community. 

What is the role of a health advocate?

Health advocates work with you and your family to help you receive and understand the best treatment options for you. They can also help weed through medical bills and insurance paperwork. They are tasked with:

  • Communication between you and your healthcare team
  • Scheduling and accompanying you to your appointments
  • Explaining medical information
  • Clarifying your diagnosis and making sure you understand it
  • Reviewing your medical bills 
  • Disputing errors on your medical bill
  • Helping you understand your insurance
  • Disputing insurance claims

Who and where do health advocates help?

Health advocates help anyone who doesn’t have a solid support network to assist them or who doesn’t understand the healthcare system well enough to navigate it on their own. They are not always hospital employees, although they can be.

These advocates can be found in: 

  • Your home. Talk with your insurance company. Some of them have advocates on staff. If not, they can assist you in finding one who is right for you. The patient advocates can help you choose the right home care plan, make informed decisions in a crisis, and help you develop an action plan to get you back on your feet. 
  • The hospital. Advocates often work in hospital settings and can be found through the patient care nurses and doctors. Your advocate can help you with your treatment plan, avoid delays with the doctors, and coordinate treatments with different members of your medical team. 
  • The nursing home. Transitioning from your home to a nursing home can be difficult. Patient advocates can ease this transition, provide emotional support through the change and help you and your family understand how life in the nursing home can benefit you. End-of-life documentation may be needed at this stage of life. Advocates in nursing homes are available to help out with such tasks. 

How do health advocates help?

Sometimes helping is as simple as putting a smile on a patient’s face when they are having a rough day. Other times health advocates can get you to appointments and back home, reassure your family that your treatment is going as planned, or solve a complaint at the hospital. 

They are often tasked with:

Healthcare advocates can give you comfort and support you through the difficult times. In today’s complex healthcare system, they can often be a patient’s best friend. If you’re interested in knowing more about how a health advocate could benefit you, contact us at Care Weavers today.