Who Has Your Back?

The Issue:

You need a medical advocate.

Who will speak for you when you are vulnerable? What do I mean by vulnerable? Sick. Needing medical attention. In a fog. In incredible pain. It is import to find yourself a medical advocate; spouse, partner, sister, brother, parent, neighbor, friend. An advocate for situations when we are physically and mentally vulnerable, it happens to us all. When you find yourself in this kind of vulnerable position, ask someone you trust to accompany you to medical appointments. If you are admitted to the hospital, you need an advocate to be with you for the first few days you are in the hospital.

You may need more than one advocate. I currently have two, my spouse and a social worker. You can find a social worker through your health clinic’s website. Since the clinic pays their salary, there is no additional cost for his/her services. My spouse handles the medical visits, and in-patient hospital stays. My social worker helps me with my medical paperwork. Signing up for coverage, coverage issues, and billing questions.

My Goal:

I will always be prepared for hospital visits.

The last time I was admitted to the hospital, it didn’t go well. My husband was on his way to the hospital, but he can’t be with me 24/7. He has to work. A situation came up, and I needed someone immediately when things went from bad to worse. I have been reliving this nightmare. I will never allow myself to be so mistreated again when I find myself at the mercy of others while I am sick and so incredibly vulnerable. 

The Outcome:

I found forms to assist all of us when we are dealing with hospital personnel.

I found the Chronic Pain Disease and Palliative Care Forms that you can get your primary doctor, even your nurse, to fill out. You can get your copy hereI have updated my medical paperwork to include the fact that I am a chronic pain patient and list the medications I am prescribed and need to receive, to combat this disorder. I keep copies with me at all times. You never know when you go from having an ordinary day to needing medical attention.

Additional Task:

On site patient advocates are available.

The one other resource I have overlooked and want to share with you is the in-house hospital social workers, called patient advocates. They are on-site. Their hours vary. But you may ask for one at any time during your stay! It is in the ‘patient bill of rights’ that we may request a patient advocate at any time. This is a resource that is underutilized. We don’t think about this when we are in a vulnerable state. If you find yourself alone in the hospital, request a patient advocate.

Question:

My question is how to remember to do this? When we are in a crisis state, we often forget the simplest things! How can we remember to request an advocate? Write it in our medical papers? Make “I want a patient advocate” cards to keep in our wallet? What would you suggest?

IMG_0454~Kim

20 comments

  1. This is wonderful! I am familiar with these things for hospice and aging patients, but am glad to know they are available for those of us in chronic pain. Although I have long avoided medications for my fibromyalgia, my back is giving me severe issues now and the medication isn’t touching the pain. I fear something stronger is in my future, so I will definitely keep these forms in mind!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I’m sorry to hear about your back pain difficulty. The fear is always, will it get worse? No one can answer that for us. Yes, these forms were written by a man named Dr. Kline. He battles for pain patients rights and has been before congress many times. Definitely gather supplies for your chronic pain tool kit before you need to use it! Rainy days sometimes come, without ample notice. Being prepared makes them not so bleak! ~k.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s true. We often forget in such situations. Besides, we get too emotional. Add vulnerability to it, and the outcome sucks. Our loved ones could remind us. Or simply be there to deal with the paperwork and inadequacy of medical staff. So, definitely sb you trust, a spouse, a parent or a very good friend. Sn with enough patience, time and energy to deal with the shit.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. For hospital stays I have a hospital kit.
    It has a lot of things to help alert staff that I’m deaf. I also have notes I need to remember, I can add these things to my kit. It’s a useful thing to have.
    I also have a small kit in my purse incase I have a vertigo attack or something while out, in it I have emergency meds. A card explaining what is happening with emergency numbers…that kind of thing.
    I can add another note in there incase I get taken to the hospital without my kit.
    Good information as always Kim.
    xo Wen

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This was an incredibly brilliant post! Everything you stated is so true. I know when I get in the doctor’s office, my emotions are usually out of wack and I forget the important questions to ask. It is always great to have my husband with me to act as an advocate that actually cares. I find we all can get very vulnerable when we are with a doctor and this just isn’t something we should ever have to face alone. Thank you for this Kim!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Kim, this is great information. I am so happy you also included patient advocates and yes, they are so underused. When I worked in hospitals I would always tell patients that they are there for them when they couldn’t get the staff to comply to their wishes. Bless you for always blessing others Kim. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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