When you hear the words from your health provider: "I'm sorry to tell you that you have_______." Where does your mind go? For most people, after hearing that initial diagnosis, they are unable to process most of the information that follows. Their mind is racing ahead to "what if...", "how will I...", "this could not possibly be true..." Once you leave their office you may think of dozens of questions and your mind will probably race or go numb.
Getting a serious health diagnosis is devastating. How will I fit this into my already busy schedule? How will I continue my job? My parenting? My life? Will I survive? Often those who are close to us provide great comfort and support, but they may also be overwhelmed and scared.
A Patient Advocate can help you make sense of the situation. An Advocate will research pertinent and reliable information to educate you about your diagnosis, treatment options and support services. They can help you organized for your medical appointments by identifying your goals and priorities, formulating questions, preparing descriptions of symptoms and concerns. You may benefit from having your Advocate accompany you at medical appointments to be another set of ears and to help clarify information you are not sure you understand. Your Advocate can help you with logistics, arranging the sequence of appointments, all the paperwork, getting copies of records and reviewing insurance coverage and authorizations.
A Patient Advocate can research centers of excellence on your diagnosis to consult for second opinions and relevant clinical trials if appropriate. Your Advocate can also connect you to resources and support to ease your day to day challenges.
In short, you Advocate will be there for you throughout your health journey for support, education and empowerment so you can focus on getting well.