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.
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.
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 here. I 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.
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.
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?