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What is the role of a patient advocate in critical care?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner
When patients are in critical care, they are often unconscious or heavily sedated during their critical illness.  Because of this, they cannot speak for themselves and make medical decisions for themselves.  Nurses often play the role of patient advocate.  Nurses will speak up for what they perceive the needs of the patient are because they are with them 24/7.  The nurses often find out from families and friends certain wishes a patient may have and communicate these with the rest of the healthcare team.  This can be as simple as a preferred nickname to be called.  In some cases, more serious questions about a patient condition needs to be answered such as whether to have a risky surgery.  A patient may not have anyone who can make a medical decision on their behalf.  In this care, a judge can appoint someone to make medical decisions in that person's behalf and they are called a patient adocate, but this is rare.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.