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The NSPA Blog

How to Advocate for Your Advocate

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Posted on January 11th, 2018 by Teri Dreher, under Patient Advocacy, Patient Tools, Take Charge, Tips & Resources

We all Need a Little Help from Our Friends

We say it all the time; everyone serves as an advocate at one time or another. Whether it’s taking your grandma to an appointment, sitting with a friend who’s waiting on scary test results, or even making soup for your little sister when she has a bad cold, we all advocate. That’s why it’s so important to remember that the people who advocate for us need help too.


Tell Them What You Need

When friends, loved ones, or ever hired help is advocating on your behalf, it always works best if they know what you want and need. In the most extreme cases, this means letting them know about the big decisions you may not be able to make on your own. Things like end-of-life wishes; in Illinois we have a document called POLST that makes your wishes very legally clear. In less catastrophic cases, this can be as simple as asking your advocate to take notes at a doctor’s office for fear of forgetting on your own. No matter the situation, no one can give you what you want if they don’t know it. Communication is key, but verbally expressing your needs isn’t the only part of good communication.


Be There for Them, However You Can

Needing people to advocate for you is just that, needing help. So, it makes sense if you find yourself in a situation where you’re unable to give them back exactly what they gave you, and that’s okay. Most advocates aren’t there to help for any other purpose than because they want to be. You don’t need to match what they’ve done for you. Still, showing appreciation goes a long way. Even purposefully, taking the time to ask a friend how their day was can do wonders to show them that you care. After all, advocating is really all about caring. So, let’s care for the people who care for us.

With over 36 years of clinical experience in Critical Care nursing, home based health care and expertise as a cardiovascular nurse clinician, Teri is well acquainted with the complexities of the modern healthcare system. She has served as a nursing leader, mentor, educator, and consistent patient advocate throughout her career in some of the best hospitals across the country. Her passion to keep the patient at the center of the model of nursing care led her to incorporate NShore Patient Advocates, LLC in 2011, serving clients throughout the northern suburbs of Chicago.

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