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When do I need a patient advocate?

What is a Patient Advocate?

Having a medically literate patient advocate on hand can be a great investment for families who require care and support, particularly with ageing parents, as their needs change.

They provide support, education, and expert input when you or your family is under pressure. Your patient advocate is someone who is by your side every time you want support, and will help translate, coordinate, navigate, negotiate, monitor and intercede on your behalf. They can also frequently save you money through streamlined case management, fewer complications and shorter down time.

Dorothy Kamaker from Patient Advocates Australia recently spoke to Body & Soul Magazine about the important role that Patient Advocates play, particularly for those who “have just been diagnosed and still don’t really understand what’s wrong with them. They’re often too nervous to ask a doctor to explain.” As Dorothy explains, having a patient advocate by your side when a system is complex can help you effectively navigate the health care system.

What is a typical case patient advocates deal with?

Dorothy tells Body & Soul about one of her most recent clients who lost his arm after his lawn mower flipped. “After leaving to hospital, he was bewildered by the gamut of services he had to access including finding a prosthesis, locating specialist amputee rehabilitation, sourcing a psychotherapist to manage his stress and getting help in modifying his home”. Dorothy says that she helped her client by sourcing all the specialists he needed and helping him secure some funding.

Other typical cases include children from overseas hiring a patient advocate to help their elderly parents stay at home for longer and to set up the best possible care.

How much do patient advocates charge?

Patient Advocates Australia charge $125 per hour, including 15 minutes each-way travel time (there are also additional after-hours rates and “incidental costs”).

If you would like to discuss a situation where you think a patient advocate will provide a solution, an initial telephone consultation is cost and obligation free.

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Original article appeared in Body and Soul – November 20, 2016

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