As your loved one ages or progresses through a terminal illness, the number of professionals and agencies involved in their care will only increase. Patient advocacy is your one-stop shop for EVERYTHING your loved one and their care partners will need.
You’ll have doctor appointments — sometimes many of them spanning a range of health disciplines. You’ll have coordination along the continuum of care — from the home and in the community to potential long-term care options. You’ll have financial and legal considerations. And, all the while, you’ll require continuing education into health conditions, care options and quality-of-life factors.
After all, each of us deserves a life worth living, right? Here’s how a Board-certified Patient Advocate can help.
Board-Certified Patient Advocacy in the Tampa Bay Area
A Patient Advocate helps to navigate complex health care systems, financial realities and resources for senior care, people at end of life, and those who simply wish to prepare for life’s latter stages.
Care-Partner Team Building
We steer clear of the term caregiver. While accurate in some cases, person-centered language prefers the term care partner. Why? Because it empowers the individual at the center of care. They’re not just care recipients. They’re people — with special needs and desires for a life well lived and thoroughly enjoyed. In many cases, they may direct their own care for many years into advancing age or a terminal diagnosis. And with a great life-care plan, they may make preparations and continue to direct their own care when they’re no longer able to make decisions.
Where do we start? Let’s consider ALL of the individuals who may serve a role in assisting care. It’s a team effort, when possible, and this team may include loved ones, friends, neighbors and professionals with important roles in the home (family visits, cooking, cleaning, etc.) to transportation (to and from medical appointments) to respite care, assisted living or long-term nursing care (transitions and ongoing support).
A life-care plan is a working document that can always change as needs evolve. It provides accurate and timely information that addresses all aspects of care from physical therapy, doctor visits and crisis intervention to financial responsibilities, dietary needs and community living.
Medical Care Coordination
Patient advocacy helps clients understand all treatment options, whether they’re terminal illnesses like dementia and cancer or simpler needs that follow the healthy aging process. Treatment options are just that: options. Sometimes seeking second (and even third) opinions yields the best possible care. We empower care-partner teams to ask tough questions of the right professionals involved in all aspects of care.
Some individuals see a network of doctors, clinicians, specialists and other providers to address specific needs. Complexity and confusion are common. We work alongside clients to secure care options in any setting. We will even coordinate and attend medical appointments, if appropriate. We also help care-partner teams to organize important health care, financial and legal documents (like a living will or power of attorney), as well as prescriptions and recommendations by health professionals.
Medicaid & VA Planning
A semi-private nursing home room costs on average $9,946 per month here in the Tampa, FL area. Folks can save their entire lives and think that they’ll have adequate funds for “that rainy day” only to suffer a stroke, major heart attack, or receive a terminal diagnosis. Almost overnight, they no longer have the means to afford critical health care needs. This expense would cause most people to enter financial hardship.
In order to receive Medicaid and VA benefits, individuals must first be financially eligible. A Board-certified Patient Advocate, like myself, helps clients to understand financial eligibility ins and outs to protect assets for now and the future. Medicaid, unlike Medicare, will cover all long-term care costs. Once we obtain Medicaid eligibility for an individual, if they remain within the Medicaid guidelines, they will be eligible for the rest of their lives.
Almost everyone prefers to age comfortably at home. Sometimes that’s possible. But conditions and diagnoses come that, at times, compel transitions to a more optimal, healthy and safe living space. Moving to an assisted-living facility, nursing home or hospice end-of-life care is difficult for everyone involved.
An experienced Patient Advocate assists care-partner teams with the logistics and red tape associated with moving. In addition to financial eligibility requirements, elders and their care partners must navigate issues associated with real estate transactions, asset management and continuity of care.
Some moves are temporary. When a client is discharged to a rehab facility (or back home), we plan and coordinate resources for whatever that next step may be.
Education and Referrals
Whether you or a loved one are researching care and financial options for years in the future or immediately after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, your Patient Advocate will always educate you about processes, responsibilities and treatment options.
There’s so much to know. Yes, it will likely seem overwhelming. What can you do when a loved one no longer responds to treatment? How do you adjust when they wish to adjust their end-of-life plans or when circumstances change for Medicaid eligibility? When those questions (and others) arise, we will refer helpful resources from a network of partnering organizations.
Let’s Start Planning for Patient Advocacy Today
I am a Board-certified Patient Advocate in the State of Florida. I work with care-partner teams to advise and coordinate resources needed for every step of the care journey.
Aging individuals and their care partners face important decisions. There are many moving parts to planning care for quality of life and financial protection. You need an expert Patient Advocate who knows each required step for your loved one’s all-around well-being.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started today.