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How should I choose a patient advocate?

It is important that the person you choose to be your advocate is ready for the job. Ideally, this is someone with a healthcare background or who has experience either as a hospitalized patient or with a loved one’s hospitalization. Just because someone is concerned for you does not mean that he/she can play this assertive role in your care. The National Patient Safety Foundation recommends taking into consideration the following criteria when choosing an advocate:
  • Your advocate should be assertive
  • Your advocate should communicate well -- in languages appropriate for your community
  • Your advocate should be willing to do the job
  • Your advocate should be someone you are comfortable sharing intimate details with, who will know how and when to share them -- and with whom
  • Your advocate should be someone who is good at asking questions and digging deeper if necessary
  • Your advocate should be organized, as there are lots of papers and forms to keep track of while supporting someone in the hospital

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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.