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What is a health care advocate?

As you age, it’s normal to see your health care needs increase. You'll probably have more visits to doctors, therapists, and other providers, and it can make keeping track of your treatments and medications more challenging. Having the support of another person can help you navigate the complex health care system. A health care advocate can help you make sure that things don’t fall through the cracks. 

It makes sense to pick someone from your family or friends to act as your health care advocate. If friends or family aren’t an option, you can hire a professional to fill the role. The health care advocate role can help you in several ways and can make sure that nothing is forgotten or unnoticed.

What do health care advocates do, and what can they help you with?

There are a variety of things a health care advocate can help you do and other ways they can support you in your health appointments and treatments. 

They can join you at doctor’s appointments 

Having a second person sit in on appointments, take notes, and ask questions on your behalf can be helpful. It’s understandable to be easily overwhelmed with information or forget to mention new symptoms and ask questions. Your health care advocate could also take responsibility for making sure each health care provider is aware of medications you’re taking. 

They can discuss new symptoms or feelings with you 

If symptoms change, your health care advocate can monitor and note changes and tell the doctor at your next appointment. 

They can help you understand treatment options and tests 

In the event you don’t fully understand treatment options or tests, having someone who’s willing and able to ask questions, research options, and help with decisions is valuable. 

They can help protect you from potential elder abuse 

No one wants to think about it, but elder abuse does happen. People who must rely on others for care are often vulnerable. Your health care advocate can help by looking for any signs that something could be wrong. Be sure to share your health advocate’s name and phone number with all health care providers, and make the extent of their involvement clear, in case of emergency.

Working with multiple doctors

In addition to a health care advocate, having a primary care doctor coordinate every aspect of your care can be helpful with managing all your tests, treatments, and medications. This can help you avoid frustration and confusion with multiple medical professionals potentially offering different opinions and treatments. If most of your doctors are part of one medical group, they may be more likely to talk with each other and make sure treatments are complementary.

Give someone access to your accounts

When you add an authorized user to your accounts, you choose the level of access to give them.

More to explore

This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.