Elderly and isolated people can be vulnerable when ill health adds to their existing problems. Patients may need extra support to express and secure their choices for treatment, especially where the patient’s choice may differ from the medical team. The advocate can help the patient formulate his or her expressed desires into a treatment plan and help the medical team decide a patient preferred treatment plan. Often a patient is excluded from decision making on a course of treatment. An advocate can be become a part of the decision making and therefore ensure the patient’s input is heard even when absent. Also, where patients are not medically trained an advocate could help clarify matters and keep them informed.
Patient advocacy is vital when patients are frightened, vulnerable, or incompetent. This may presume that the advocate has a clear insight into the needs of the patient and can represent these to the medical team. This is additional to ensuring that the patient’s basic human rights are respected. These steps should ensure that the patient’s best interests and rights are represented (as the patient perceives them) fairly and without distortion. This should go a long way to giving advocates a privileged position, designating them the authentic representative of the patient with the clinician or medical team.
Join our Facebook community here to learn more about the benefits of advocacy for older people.