we find the courage to insist that the patient's rights are honored and
the patient's voice is heard, we have an effect on the system. Sometimes
we're patients and sometimes we're advocates. But always, we're together."
From Don't Go There Alone! A Guide to Hospitals
for Patients and Their Advocates. (Kalina-Pew-Bourgeois)
Health advocacy, sometimes called patient advocacy, helps patients and their families get the best possible healthcare.
Health advocates are prepared and trained to bring out the best in healthcare by facilitating clear and timely communications between patients, their families, and those who provide healthcare. Doctors, nurses, technicians, and allied health professionals all share leadership roles in quality healthcare. Health advocates help facilitate the team process.
Advocates play a critical role by:
patients clarify their own goals and wishes for their healthcare and communicating
those goals and expectations clearly to healthcare providers.
Helping patients and their families become co-leaders in the healthcare process, advancing and promoting. The patient centered principle: "Nothing About Me Without Me."
advocacy can be:
• For Someone as a Volunteer
• For Someone as a Professional Health Advocate
a Advocate for Your Own Healthcare
As a patient you may need to become your own health advocate. Knowing how the healthcare system works and what you can do to get the healthcare you need can be an important set of skills. Becoming your own health advocate by improving your knowledge can save your life.
Becoming a Volunteer Health Advocate
In the book Don't Go There Alone! A Guide to Hospitals for Patients and Their Advocates, the authors point out the benefits of having a trained, well informed advocate. Many volunteers organizations, such as religious organizations, service organizations, and government resources are seeking information about training for health advocacy. If you are considering health advocacy volunteerism for yourself or your organization, HALO may have a program for you.
Becoming a Certified Professional Health Advocate
Psychologists, lawyers, physicians, nurses, health professionals, social workers, and others interested in this new and emerging field will find the Professional Certification Program valuable. Professionals can augment their skills and expand their services through a specialization in health advocacy. Certification also offers opportunities and credibility for those who wish to become professionally involved in health advocacy.