“Patient” Advocacy Begins When You Are Well

Posted on October 24, 2012

Patients often seek professional advocacy services after a health care crisis, for example, in cases of delayed or incorrect diagnosis, preventable complications of illness or problems with poorly arranged transition from hospital to home.  These medical crises put patients at great risk and take a significant toll both on patients and their family members.  For advocacy services to be of greatest benefit, these services should be moved upstream to help prevent health crises. Proactive health advocacy can provide essential information about health empowerment and health promotion before you become a “patient”.

Health Empowerment: Coaching on how to be your own best advocate to ensure that health care is centered on your needs, that you are an active participant in care decisions and that you have the necessary knowledge and communication skills to be an informed participant in your health care.  You have a right to receive “Patient-Centered Care”. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has defined “Patient-Centered Care” as care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patients’ needs, preferences and values to ensure that patients’ values guide clinical decisions. For more information read the IOM Crossing the Quality Chasm Report: www.nap.edu/html/quality_chasm/reportbrief.pdf

 Health Promotion: Strategies to empower you to take personal control of your health by identifying your personal risk factors and developing health promotion activities to maximize your health and prevent illness. Health advocates complete a wellness plan customized to meet your health needs, goals and lifestyle preferences. Information is provided about healthy eating, weight control, physical activity, sleep hygiene, home safety, driving safety, stress management and fall prevention. Your personal risk factors are identified. Education and coaching are provided to reduce the risks and to determine appropriate health monitoring and screening activities. Finally, health advocates complete a personal health record to monitor your important health information including; health care summary, family medical history, medications, allergies, medical conditions, hospitalizations, dental and vision care and complete/update Advance Directives and Health Care Power of Attorney information.

Consider consulting with HEAL professional health advocates to learn more about these useful services.


For more information see CDC site to support health promotion activities for older adults.