By Maureen Rulison
Caregiver Support and Resources, LLC
Caring for our aging loved ones should be easy in theory, right? We love Mom. We love our sister. We love our husband. We love whomever requires excellent care in the twilight of life.
But it’s so complicated – even draining and frustrating – in practice. That’s because you’re navigating complex and ever-changing health care landscapes, financial and legal realities, living environments, and senior care resources that always seem out of reach. You need a guide.
What is a Patient Advocate? Well, I am! A Patient Advocate is someone who cares with a roadmap to travel the peaks and valleys of life’s journey. Just as importantly, elder care professionals like me know where to uncover community resources and how to coordinate quality medical care.
A Patient Advocate is Your Guide to a Life Worth Living
Aging and dying. To be blunt, it’s something we’re all destined to do. To be more blunt, life’s most trying test for the individual and the care-partner team – whether your loved one is aging in good health or facing a terminal illness.
The number of professionals and agencies involved in their care increases significantly. The roles grow more intense and immersive for close family members and friends.
A board-certified Patient Advocate leaves no stone unturned in coordinating care, love and support. Let’s explore how I can assist you in ensuring a life worth living.
Building a Web of Support
I call this building the care-partner team. At the heart of Patient Advocacy is the recognition that care is a collaborative effort.
Rather than using the term “caregiver,” we emphasize the importance of person-centered (or person-focused) language. So everyone, including the individual at the center of care, are referred to as “care partners.” No one is relegated to a specific title that implies being in a position of weakness or power. The care recipient is empowered to direct their own care. Primary and secondary care partners are dignified and truly appreciated for their supportive efforts.
By fostering a team approach, we can ensure comprehensive support and quality care for your loved one.
Medical Care Planning
Just a second ago, I mentioned primary and secondary care partners. A Patient Advocate helps identify and coordinate all the individuals who play a role in assisting with care, including loved ones, friends, neighbors and professionals. Make no mistake, each is vital in distinct ways – from doctors and clinicians to spiritual advisors and care agencies.
Patient Advocacy makes sense of complex health systems and ensures clear communication among a volume of providers. What good is one hand if the other doesn’t know what it’s doing? Even in this digital age, where communication is supposedly streamlined, there are blind spots. Professional communication failures are detrimental to care – or even deadly.
A Patient Advocate helps clients understand different treatment options, seek second opinions, and ask relevant questions to the right professionals. From coordinating medical appointments to organizing important health care documents, we bridge communication gaps and usher care-partner teams to informed decisions.
Medicaid & VA Planning
Navigating finances is overwhelming, especially when faced with the high costs of long-term care. As a Patient Advocate with expertise in Medicaid and VA planning, I help care-partner teams to understand and maintain eligibility requirements, protecting assets for today and tomorrow.
By exploring financial options and providing guidance, a Patient Advocate ensures your loved one receives the necessary care without facing needless financial hardship.
Education & Connection
The more you know. As care partners, we can’t tap community resources or areas of expertise without first knowing they exist. One of my most powerful (and fulfilling) roles as a Patient Advocate is to educate about processes, responsibilities and care options.
Whether you are researching long-term care requirements or need immediate guidance after a diagnosis, an experienced Patient Advocate provides the information, guidance and connection to community resources needed for care that fits your needs. Additionally, Patient Advocates maintain a network of partnering organizations, allowing us to refer you to a variety of helpful resources.
OK, so full disclosure, the majority of our Patient Advocacy clients aim to stay at home as long as feasible. But reality looms. More than one-third of American adults will reside in an assisted-living or nursing facility when care becomes too difficult to deliver at home.
It’s natural. It’s necessary.
But transitions in living arrangements can be challenging for both the individual and care partners. A Patient Advocate assists care-partner teams in navigating the logistics and paperwork associated with moving – whether you’re simply downsizing to senior living or upgrading to memory care. We help all aspects of adjusting to assisted-living facilities, nursing homes or hospice care, as well. From real estate transactions to asset management and continuity of care, I’m always providing support for a smooth and well-planned process.
We Are Ready to Be Your Board-Certified Patient Advocate
As a board-certified Patient Advocate in the State of Florida, I am dedicated to assisting care-partner teams in every step of the care journey.
It’s a journey toward well-rounded, comprehensive care for a life worth living.
By partnering with Caregiver Support and Resources, you gain a trusted ally who will empower you to make informed decisions and provide the best possible care for your loved one’s all-around well-being. Start planning for Patient Advocacy today and rest assured needs will be met for EVERYONE involved..