What is a Patient Advocate?

Many caregivers of elderly parents feel lost in the maze of our healthcare system.

Trying to negotiate the maze of bureaucracy, medical/legal jargon, governmental agencies, expensive (and sometimes unnecessary!) procedures, and pressed-for-time doctors and nurses is enough to exhaust anyone.

Medicine has seen some positive changes in recent years, among them the technology, medications, and treatment options for various diseases. The doctor-patient relationship, however, has declined. And the main reason is the lack of time spent by the doctor with each patient.

In fact, it’s estimated that one-third of elderly patients don’t even know what medications they’re taking…or why.

So what’s a caregiver to do? Well, you can educate yourself. You can go to support groups. You can accompany your loved one to the doctor. Or you can find a Patient Advocate.

“Patient Advocate” can apply to private professional patient advocates, or those who work for the hospital, insurance company, or non-profit organizations. Cost structures, as you might expect, can vary widely.

A private professional patient advocate is hired by the patient (or family) to represent the patient in the healthcare system. It could be a social worker, case manager, medical billing expert, nurse, physician, and even lay people with personal experiences as a caregiver. Costs are not covered by insurance, and can vary widely.

If you can afford it, though, it may be worthwhile. It can help emotionally to know that someone who understands the system is in your corner. It might, conceivably, improve the patient’s health outcome. And it might even save you money in the long run, by preventing unnecessary treatments or tests.

At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we practice Elder Law. And we work every day with families who are emotionally drained by trying to navigate the Elder Care Maze. In fact, over the past 34 years, we’ve helped thousands of South Florida families navigate this maze. And we’ve helped them, as well, with comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, and assistance with Medicaid and the VA.

We can help you, too. We’re just a phone call away.

Posted in Alice Reiter Feld Florida Elder Law Monday Memos

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