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Becoming Another Persons Advocate: Second Post

I believe that no one should have surgery without having a Personal Health Advocate on the team. I may be going out on a limb here, but there is just so much a person can absorb in any regular situation but when it is a stressful situation, I think it is essential to have an information services resource available.

I wrote previously about the chart that I make up before going to the Doctor’s office and that is just one way for advocacy to work;  I thought I should include a few more.

Doctors Hand

If you are in the hospital or having a long term procedure processed, it is important to have a human being on board to read through everything, take copious notes and check on your medications and your responses to them.  Someone with Power of Attorney needs to be able to look at what was charted on you and represent your views and wishes – a translator or an interpreter.  The Doctor or nurse is not handling the small details for you anymore and they may only visit with you in the middle of the night when they seem to do “rounds” these days.  You need someone with an overview to manage for you. Routinely, my child was put on “corn” glucose drips post surgery (rice based works with no side effects for her) and my Mother was written up as taking a medication that all senior women take and she had never had it prescribed in all her 94 years.   They brought her this medication way early in the morning and then we all thought she had experienced a stroke until it got out of her system and we figured out what had happened.  Serious Stuff!

My Mother’s Doctor was very happy to pick up and check our clipboard/chart to see if we had any questions or concerns she could address when the caregiver/advocate was away taking care of her/his business and family.  We did not waste the nurse’s time and they were so happy to have concise requests and shared much more information with our chart available.

I am not able to get anyone to go to my preventative check up with me and I have found just filling out the Personal Health Chart – even sometimes the Medical Assistant will take notes for me and if that is not possible I take out my cell phone and call my voicemail service and repeat everything the Dr. says into the voice mail.  One person told me their Doctor emails the visit notes he/she took to her email address right at the end of the appointment – even her x-rays and lab reports – now that is a good service.  The Doctor shares a great deal of information in that short appointment time and I think our brains just do not wish to hear it all; sometimes we just block out some of the pertinent ideas too and what we are supposed to do for the remedy as a defense mechanism.

My child’s dental office is now clear across the State near her University.  We use our cell phones to connect with the Dentist’s office and find out what needs to happen and then I take notes and put it on an email to send back to them to make sure we got the correct information written down.

Our Doctor’s office also has a phone on the wall for local calls and that keeps us on track.
The Naturopathic Physician that I see gives me her version of a Personal Health Record (PHR) and I need to keep track of what I did and what I ate on the bottom of the sheet and return it the next visit.  I scan these into the computer so I can keep everything on a disk for each year and I also have a record.

Videotaping the appointment is also a good option and now days that can be put on your computer also.
A word of caution: family members and emotionally driven folks are not the best advocates – someone who takes good notes and knows how to formulate good questions and summarize answers maintaining some distance seems to do a better job.  And there are some people who do not have a clue as to how to be of help to you and they just might make the situation worse.

Regence Blue Shield has a Personal Health Record chart for each person on their program.  You can add to this chart anytime and your Doctor’s notes arrive in brief form anytime they have a payout.  I can keep my exercise records on this chart also and get a small concise print out to take to each appointment thereafter.

Make sure your Doctor and your Advocate both know your wishes and expectations and are very clear about what should happen in case of…?

Folks just need to be responsible for their own health these days and your records.  To your own self be true – and know who you are.

4 Responses to “Becoming Another Persons Advocate: Second Post”

  1. mj Says:

    Amen to the above. I used to advocate for others in this way, as well as for family members. Slight correction: the advocate needs a MEDICAL Power of Attorney, not a general POA. Big difference. And, don’t keep these papers locked up in your safety deposit box. You need to take them with you EVERY time you go to the hospital. Sometimes you have to be quite assertive about their use to the medical folks. Also, I encourage people to NEVER not have someone with their family member in the hospital — 24/7. Someone needs to be with them at all times to be their advocate and safety monitor. The stories I could tell…….

  2. Patricia Says:

    Thank you for the good suggestions mj – I think we folks in the trenches need all the information that we can get. I did not need a Medical POA just the POA for my Mother, but we did have to have a plan in case of her death, and letters from her Attorney reference her will and intentions – another form telling what kind of care she wanted, ” a directive” – signed by her physician. When her physician had an injury, all the other physicians took that to mean my Mother could not have pain relief surgery after she suffered compression fractures of the spine – wow did that take a lot of appointments and phone calls to get a Kyphoplasty for pain relief and then it was a great relief. I think there are too many of these experiences to even comprehend.

  3. Jenn Z Says:

    Patricia, this is wonderful! Thanks for sharing!! :)

  4. patricia Says:

    Jenn Z
    You are quite welcome…it came from experience :)