Most of us will need to receive treatment from a doctor or a specialist at some point in our lives. When it happens, we hope the condition will be a fairly simple and straightforward one to treat. However, every day people are diagnosed with other more serious illnesses, some of which are life threatening.
It is hard to imagine how you would feel if you found yourself in this situation. Suddenly you are faced with a diagnosis of a medical condition, and a barrage of information regarding potential treatments. It's no wonder there is a need for patient advocacy services, to act as a barrier between the patient and whoever is treating them.
How does patient advocacy work?
It goes without saying that patients have very little knowledge of the medical profession, other than the experiences they themselves have. If you were diagnosed with a serious illness that required treatment, you would be shocked and overwhelmed by the news. Amidst this experience you would also have to find out about the proposed treatment options and make a decision on which route to take. It's no wonder many patients find it hard to make the best decision.
Patient advocacy offers the services of someone who can act as a buffer between the medical professionals and the patient. They are experienced in knowing which questions to ask, therefore making it easier for the person involved to get all the information they need. They can get answers to questions the patient did not even know they should ask. This is one of the largest advantages the service offers.
A cushion of support
Advocates become experienced in dealing with medical professionals, and they know who to go for advice and information. If you needed the services of a patient advocate, you would be far more informed than you might be otherwise. Similarly, you would also be able to benefit from someone else's experience, which can be invaluable in lots of ways.
Finally, there is the advantage of knowing someone knowledgeable is there to support you. This alone can be a huge boost to your state of mind and ability to cope with what is going on around you. In short, if you are able to use an advocate in this way, you may fare better when coping with a diagnosis than you would otherwise. That's why patient advocates do such an important job, day in day out, for lots of different people.