A Cry for a Professional Healthcare Advocate
My work as a Professional Advocate is often guided by a single phrase in a story I read about healthcare service delivery. Within the story, Elizabeth Dreesen, MD, effectively illustrates an unmet need and describes a role we do not often see in healthcare these days. The article in Raleigh’s News and Observer, “Our Lives: Being the Bearer of Bad News,” touched me and I often revisit it.
“One intern described morning rounds as his surgical team hurried from room to room, trying to see 20 patients and a bunch of families before the O.R. started at 7:30. On busy days, when they had complex patients with bad problems, he sometimes felt that they left confusion and anxiety in their wake. He fantasized about having “an explainer” who would follow his team on their rounds.
“I want to tell the patients not to be disappointed,” he said. “I want to tell them ‘the explainer’ is a couple rooms behind us. We doctors don’t have time to talk now, but the explainer will be along soon, and they’ve got all the time in the world to talk with you and be with you.”
Dr. Dreesen and her interns loved the idea of “the Explainer,” someone who could fulfill the needs of patients for both information and comfort, needs that her interns sensed but knew they couldn’t meet. Stories like this cry out for a Professional Advocate.
If I am (or you are) an Adult Child of an aging parent, or the senior myself, or a family member seeing your loved one in confusion, then you may need an Explainer. Someone is needed to either answer the question or to determine where to carry it, and then do so. For you. With you.
If you are inside “the Kaleidoscope” as we at NAVIGATE NC call it, in a can’t-see-forest-for-trees situation, an Advocate can assist. Whether you need a starting point, a sounding board, or an outside perspective an Advocate can be a key player on your team.
And it is not only in times of trouble. Or Awfulness. Good, quality advocacy occurs continually. We are actively with you in the good times and the challenging, during platitudes and pragmatism. Quiet advocacy is underway by those raising awareness, who are Go To– persons or who pose the simple question that bears consideration.
To me a Professional Advocate must have an unusually strong sense of duty. I know that I respond to one, I am led by it, and meet it squarely. This Advocate’s vigilance is pretty much ON 24/7, standing ready, for you.
As Advocates for your family NAVIGATE NC will sift through the noise, provide an overview or explanation of the Big Picture. In the next breath we are zeroing in on matter at hand and beginning to develop a plan for a particular segment. We provide next steps, and in some sort of order.
The Advocate-as-Explainer will bring the picture into focus. We answer questions. We’ll pause to point out what is absolutely right with the situation. The Advocate effectively removes encumbrances from your table so as to guide you to what requires your attention now.
When appropriate, we will assist by opening up the view. We will help you to extend your vantage point a little further into the future and (dare we say) plan. For the short term or long term the Advocate continues the role of Thought-Provoker, Educator, Researcher, Outliner and Implementation Specialist.
Like Dr. Dreesen, when a client or family looks like they would benefit from an explanation, I will try to summon my inner “Explainer.” The purpose of an Advocate is to provide and deliver services geared toward finding the best possible outcomes. Understanding, solving, learning, healing, moving through, empowerment and savvy are all good outcomes.
“The explainer will be along soon, and they’ve got all the time in the world to talk with you and be with you”. And as Professional Advocates each of us will.
Would an Explainer help your family? Are you inside the Kaleidoscope? NAVIGATE NC can help. CONNECT WITH US and call us at (919) 628-4428 to set up your free initial consultation.
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