What Are Examples of Advocating for Patient Needs Within the Healthcare System?


    What Are Examples of Advocating for Patient Needs Within the Healthcare System?

    In the intricate dance of healthcare advocacy, a Doctor of Chiropractic kicks off the conversation by emphasizing the importance of listening to parents for minor patient advocacy. Alongside these expert insights, we've gathered additional answers from a variety of healthcare professions, each detailing their unique approach to championing a patient's needs. From ensuring accessible medications to customizing nutritional plans for recovery, discover the multifaceted strategies employed across the spectrum of medical care.

    • Listen to Parents for Patient Advocacy
    • Physician Advocacy Coordinates Specialized Care
    • Nurses Facilitate Patient-Centric Care Coordination
    • Therapists Lobby for Mental Health Policy Reform
    • Social Workers Secure Post-Hospitalization Housing
    • Pharmacists Advocate for Affordable Medications
    • Dietitians Tailor Recovery-Focused Nutritional Plans

    Listen to Parents for Patient Advocacy

    I am often faced with the challenge of a healthcare system that dismisses Mom and Dad’s insight with the approach that the child will “grow out of it.” Contrary to this method, neglecting concerns like colic, chronic constipation, reflux, or ear infections can lead to more serious problems, including difficulty sleeping, developmental delays, or emotional dysregulation.

    As a pediatric chiropractor, I believe patient advocacy begins with listening. Parents have the most insight into their child’s habits, routines, and symptoms. Therefore, a parent’s “mom-gut” or intuition is a trusted source when determining my patients’ concerns. When a provider truly listens, they can treat where applicable and refer out to the proper providers.

    Holistic health is founded on the principle that we look at an individual as a whole, not just a sum of individual parts; therefore, my patients’ healthcare team should be diverse and complementary to achieve the best outcomes possible. Ultimately, the healthcare provider should serve as the “guide,” and the patient should be the “hero” of their own health journey. Finally, we must empower patients by equipping them with the knowledge and tools necessary for success.

    Tori Hartline
    Tori HartlineDoctor of Chiropractic, Sunlife Chiropractic

    Physician Advocacy Coordinates Specialized Care

    As a physician, advocating for my patients' needs within the healthcare system is a fundamental aspect of my role. The number of times I've had to advocate for a patient's needs is innumerable. One notable instance involved coordinating care with other physicians to expedite my patients' access to specialized services. This often meant working tirelessly to ensure they were moved up on waitlists and seen sooner, recognizing the urgency of their medical needs.

    Furthermore, I've frequently connected patients with social workers to address their non-medical needs, such as housing or transportation issues that could impact their healthcare outcomes. In one instance, I even arranged for free meal coupons at the hospital cafeteria for a patient who had a distressing experience at the front desk during check-in, ensuring they could focus on their clinic appointment without additional stress.

    Navigating the complexities of the US healthcare system can be daunting for patients, and having an advocate on the inside is crucial. Without proactive advocacy, patients may struggle to access the high-quality, comprehensive care they deserve. As a physician, I am committed to being that advocate for my patients, ensuring their voices are heard and their needs are met within the healthcare system.

    Elisha Peterson MD MEd FAAP FASA
    Elisha Peterson MD MEd FAAP FASAAnesthesiologist and Pain Medicine Physician, Elisha Peterson MD PLLC

    Nurses Facilitate Patient-Centric Care Coordination

    A nurse plays a crucial role in coordinating the patient's care, which often involves liaising with different departments and healthcare professionals to ensure that patient needs are understood and met. They also assist in navigating the complex web of insurance requirements and healthcare resources, so that patients can receive the care they need without undue financial stress. By managing this coordination, the nurse acts as a patient advocate, ensuring that the various aspects of care are seamless and patient-focused.

    They work diligently to facilitate communication between the patient and medical staff, aiming to create a supportive and effective healthcare environment. Reach out to a nursing professional when you need help managing your care and navigating the healthcare system.

    Therapists Lobby for Mental Health Policy Reform

    A therapist who understands the impact of policy on mental health can lobby for changes that improve patient care on a systemic level. By advocating for mental health policy reform, they aim to create a broader change that can bring about improved access to mental health services for all. Their efforts can lead to increased funding for mental health programs, the reduction of stigma, and integration of mental health education into the public sphere.

    This proactive approach can result in long-term benefits for patients facing mental health challenges, providing them with better access to necessary support and care. If you believe in better mental health care, consider supporting policy reform in your community.

    Social Workers Secure Post-Hospitalization Housing

    When a patient is ready to leave the hospital but still requires a stable living environment to continue recuperating, a social worker can step in to find suitable housing. They work tirelessly to ensure that patients do not face the recovery process in an unsafe or unsupportive environment, which can be crucial in preventing readmissions. The social worker's advocacy encompasses negotiating with housing services and utilizing community resources to secure a living situation that fosters the patient's health and well-being.

    Their dedicated effort in securing appropriate housing is fundamental for a patient's successful transition out of hospital care. Encourage social workers in your area to continue their vital work in securing safe and supportive housing for those in recovery.

    Pharmacists Advocate for Affordable Medications

    A pharmacist is often on the frontline of ensuring that medications are not only available but also affordable to patients. Through their detailed knowledge of medication assistance programs and insurance coverages, they can guide patients to available discounts and alternative options to manage costs. Their advocacy means they are continually seeking ways to minimize the financial burden on patients without compromising the quality of their medication.

    By ensuring affordability, the pharmacist supports a patient's ability to adhere to their treatment plan successfully. Remember to consult your pharmacist about ways to reduce the cost of your medications.

    Dietitians Tailor Recovery-Focused Nutritional Plans

    Providing customized nutritional plans, a dietitian can significantly support a patient's recovery by tailoring a diet specific to their medical needs and recovery goals. They understand that proper nutrition is a cornerstone of health and work to ensure that patients have the information and resources required to follow a diet that promotes healing and well-being. The personalized support from a dietitian can help manage dietary-related health issues and may also speed up the recovery process.

    This personalization of care advocates for a patient's unique nutritional requirements to be taken into account throughout their healthcare journey. Speak with a professional dietitian to explore how a customized nutritional plan can aid in your recovery.