Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Frequent Blood Donations Safe for Some, But Not AllDrone Sets New Record for Transporting Blood SamplesGun Injuries Add Millions of Dollars to Hospital CostsACP Does Not Support Legalization of Assisted SuicideAAP: Few Doctors Provide Firearm Injury Prevention Info in ER9 of 10 Docs Unprepared to Prescribe MarijuanaThis Mistake Can Cost Athletes' Lives in Cardiac ArrestDrills Assess ER Response to Communicable DiseaseDo Nursing Home Workers Change Gloves Often Enough?Minorities Exposed to Dirtier Air, U.S. Study FindsPhysicians Tweeting About Drugs May Have Conflict of Interest'Science Spin' Found Prevalent in Biomedical LiteratureHealth Tip: Overcoming the Obesity EpidemicU.S. Military Surgeons Helped More Than 6,000 Afghan AdultsWhat You Can Do to Help Fight the Opioid EpidemicAre Physicians Obligated to Help on Planes?Median Cost of Cancer Drug Development $648.0 MillionDoes Study Claim a Cure? Beware of Scientific 'Spin'Vaccine Campaign in Poor Countries to Save 20 Million LivesThird Dose of MMR Vaccine Could Help Curb Mumps OutbreaksDocs Should Be Aware of Family Beliefs Regarding NondisclosureIncrease in Medical Exemptions From Immunization in CaliforniaMailed Invitations Increase CRC Screening CompletionMany Americans Getting Medical Care They Don't NeedInsurer Aetna's Envelopes Revealed Customers' HIV StatusHealth Groups Demand 'R' Rating for Movies That Show SmokingGoogle Search for 'Depression' Now to Provide Screening TestPatients' Hearing Loss May Mean Poorer Medical CareFDA May Limit 'Risk Info' in Direct-to-Consumer TV Drug AdsFDA Announces Recall of Some Liquid Pharmaceutical ProductsIs FDA Taking Close Enough Look at Fast-Tracked Drugs?Steep Price Hikes Led to Drop in Use of 2 Heart Drugs at U.S. HospitalsAPA: Medical Discrimination Based on Size Stresses Patients2 of 3 U.S. Patients Keep Unused Painkillers After SurgeryMedical Reality Catches Up to Science FictionFDA Looks to Reduce Nicotine in CigarettesAHA Hands-Only CPR Training Kiosks Available at More Airports$100 Sweetens the Pot for a ColonoscopyJust a Few Vaccine Refusers Could Endanger ManyASCO Addresses Cancer Drug PricingHigh Court Rules Against Interstate Medical LiabilityFewer U.S. Dollars Spent on Cardiac Arrest Research: StudyPainkiller Prescriptions More Prone to Errors If HandwrittenFDA Panel OKs What May Soon Be First Gene Therapy Approved in U.S.Walking Rates Are Key to a Country's Obesity LevelsDocs Should Counsel Even Healthy People on Diet, Exercise, Experts SayHealth Service Use Unchanged From 1996-1997 to 2011-2012Easier Colon Exam Boosts Screening, But Insurers May Not PayMore U.S. Patients Are Recording Their Doctor VisitsMedication Mistakes Have Doubled in U.S. Since 2000: Study
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Advocating for a Loved One

HealthDay News
by By Julie Davis
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Jun 1st 2017

new article illustration

THURSDAY, June 1, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- There are times in life, like a health crisis, when a loved one needs you to be their eyes, ears and voice. Though you may be feeling anguish over his or her illness, a patient's pain, fear or even the effects of medication can keep them from being their own advocate.

But, you can play a role not only in supporting them through a stressful time, but also in making sure they're getting the best care.

Gathering information is key. Ask questions and do research about their medical condition, treatments, specialists in the field and even the best hospital or surgery center for having a procedure done. Get to know the doctors involved and ask for specifics if you don't understand any terms they use. Don't hesitate to bring another family member with you, especially when surgery or other complex procedures are being discussed.

Keep careful notes. Even a minor illness can involve many tests, new medications and detailed home care. It's hard to remember a lot of information, such as the dosing of multiple drugs and complex hospital discharge notes, especially when you're stressed. Use a small notebook or the notes app on a smartphone to write down the names and contact numbers for everyone on the medical team. Include dates on your notes -- you may need them to provide a timeline to future specialists or to reconcile medical bills later on.

Monitor their care. Even though your loved one's primary doctor or surgeon may be the point person for other healthcare team members, you can be the backstop. Know and share your loved one's medical history, any daily medications, allergies and known drug side effects. If a new medication is prescribed, ask what it's for, possible side effects and whether it could have a negative interaction with any other drugs. Being an active member in care lessens the chance of medical errors.

Be present. If your loved one is in the hospital, your daily visit may be the one thing he or she looks forward to each day. Bring everyday items from home, like a robe or toiletries, to make the patient more comfortable.

Have a second-in-command. Being an advocate is like having another job. There may be times when you can't be there. Designate a close friend or relative who can step in for you.

Take care of yourself. A spouse's or child's serious illness can take an emotional toll and you can't advocate for them if you're rundown. Eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep.

More information

The Visiting Nurse Service of New York has a library of articles covering the most important aspects of caregiving.