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Patient Advocate Project Two 10-3-11

Patient Advocate Project Two 10-3-11

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Published by Rhonda Hayes
This was my speech that I gave at Toastmasters based upon my experience in being a patient advocate for my husband and daughter.
This was my speech that I gave at Toastmasters based upon my experience in being a patient advocate for my husband and daughter.

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: Rhonda Hayes on Oct 31, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/12/2014

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PATIENT ADVOCATEBy Rhonda HayesHow in the world, can a patient, who’s been given their sleeping meds, possiblycomprehend all that a doctor has to say? I’ve seen doctors blast into our hospital rooms late atnight and in the wee hours of the morning. Madame Toastmaster, fellow members, honoredguests, in the span of two years; I spent a total of 87 days and nights, in 6 different hospitals.It all started when my husband, Greg, at age 57, ended up in the ER, while we were onvacation. The diagnosis: a rare type of lymphoma had settled into his brain. At that moment, I became a devoted patient advocate. And then six months later, my daughter, Sherry, at age 33,was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. I then became a fervent advocate.Today I stand in front of you to say that I
firmly
believe every patient should have anadvocate.I have no credentials to support what a patient advocate should or shouldn’t do, but I dohave some suggestions based upon on my experience. First of all, whether it’s a chosen familymember or a professional, a patient advocate must be have three attributes.1) ORGANIZED2) HARD WORKING3) CALM and CARING person.
Get all medical records organized. Devise a system that works best for you. Ikept a binder with plastic sheet protectors, a place for business cards, a calendar,and paper for journaling.
 
Ask for copies of all MRI’s disks, CAT SCANS, lab results, and patient chartings.I found that informing everyone
before
any procedure or visit that you will beneeding copies before you leave works much better than waiting until after thevisit.
Keep all records in chronological order and keep them with you at all times,including a current list of medications. There were numerous times I was able to pull out a report or MRI disk when the doctor was fumbling because he didn’thave the information he wanted at his fingertips.
Ask every doctor (there will be lots of them) for a business card. I dated eachvisit on the card and made additional notes when needed.
Don’t be a PITA (pain in the arse). Be friendly and thoughtful to all hospital personnel and let them know your goal is to
help
them. Consider yourself as anextra pair of eyes, ears, and hands.
Ask questions about medications and their purpose. I found that writing thisinformation down helped me to remember so I didn’t have to keep asking thesame questions.
Remember in some cases, it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Findwhat you need and retrieve it, like water, ice, juice. I found the room where theclean linens and heated blankets were kept and helped myself. I changed Gregand Sherry’s bed sheets and helped them bathe and change those ridiculoushospital gowns.
 
The IV drip warning buzzer. Nurses can take a long time to respond to theannoying sound of the IV drip warning buzzer. Ask how to silence it, if you can’tfigure it out.
Remember all patients miss being at home. Bring a piece of home to them.Sherry especially missed her dogs. So when I’d go to her house to take a shower I’d also take a video of her dogs and she loved watching those videos. Onoccasion, I’d actually sneak one of her (well-behaved) Yorkie’s into the hospital.
Ask if the hospital has a music and pet therapy program. Take advantage of thesewonderful volunteers.
Visitors can drain the patient’s energy. During visits watch the patient closely for clues that it’s time for the visitor to go and don’t be afraid of telling them when itis time to leave.
And whether you are at home or in the hospital do whatever you have to do tostay CALM in front of the patient. The most challenging thing for me was to stay
calm
when Greg or Sherry experienced pain. But when I took deep, meditative breaths and held their hand it helped me as well as it helped them.
Do whatever you need to take care of yourself and your loved one. Greg wasn’talways able to think clearly and he’d forget to wake me so I could help him getout of bed. I devised a plan so I could rest easier at night. I pinned one end of elastic to Greg and the other end to myself and if he tried to get up in the middleof the night, the tug of the elastic would be enough to wake me up so I could helphim get to the bathroom.

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Rose added this note
Very important information! Thanks for sharing!

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