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The NSPA Blog

Something New In Health Care: Community Based Professional Patient Advocacy

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Posted on March 12th, 2012 by Teri Dreher, under Patient Advocacy, Something New

Have you noticed that things are changing in health care, especially over the past ten years? If you have, you are not alone. Patients entering a hospital these days are seeing a lot of changes, just as health care workers are. Gone are the days of the “Dr Welby” physician of our parents’ days, who knew and cared for a limited number of patients and their families, having a personal relationship with each one and could tell you every person’s medical history, allergies and unique needs spontaneously. Today’s patients are often treated by “hospitalists “whom they have never met before when they enter a hospital.  An entire team of practitioners who may or not communicate with each other regularly regarding a patient’s care try to coordinate efforts so that every problem is addressed. Ironically, many safety measures that institutions institute to address patient safety lead to nurses and physicians spending less and less time with the patient and more and more time with the computer. Current estimates indicate that the US health care system currently spends 50 billion dollars per year in documentation costs, leading to even higher bills for all of us. In short, the US health care system today has some serious problems that affect each of us personally as well nationally and many are confused, frightened and overwhelmed when the need arises to undergo a hospitalization today.

Not only are there safety issues with communication, but the facts show that hospitals are becoming more and more unsafe, with data showing that as many as 20-30% of patients having some type of “adverse medical outcome” event when hospitalized, some of which lead to death or disability. Medication errors, falls caused by disorientation brought about by sleep deprivation and medication side effects, surgical errors and severe allergic reactions are some examples commonly seen. Super infections such as MRSA, Clostridium Difficile, VRE are rampant in immune compromised patients and make it more difficult to treat infections in the post op course of many patients. Quite simply, the best course of action today seems to be to get patients in and out of the hospital as quickly as possible.

The newest, fastest growing nursing specialty today is that of the Independent RN Patient Advocate. These community based nursing consultants are passionate about protecting the safety of people who interface with various aspects of the health care system. They are watchdogs: personal advocates who help ensure safety, improve communication, educate and empower people as they encounter medical challenges. Return next week to read some examples of how independent RN Patient Advocates help save lives, time and money for all concerned.

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.

For a no-cost 30 minute initial consultation, please call 847-612-6684 or click here to fill out our online callback request form.