My husband is having Open Heart Surgery Today and I am His Patient Advocate.
Like all aging life or geriatric care managers, I use my own GCM tools to manage my own care. One tool was not to advocate for myself while in the hospital .l had a patient advocate stay with me when I had a knee replacement and hip replacements. I learned the importance of having someone advocate for you from fellow geriatric care manager Anne Rosenthall when I had my hip replaced many years ago.
No matter how good the hospital, mistakes can happen and you need, a patient advocate. My patient advocates were very good friends who were both kind and assertive. Two were actual conservator friends. They spoke for me when I was recovering from surgery and unable to speak for myself. My husband took this roll when I had my first hip replaced.
Now I am taking on the role myself for my husband, who is having open heart surgery today at Stanford Hospital. ( See photo-he is with me at 6 AM this morning) I am staying in his room, as I arranged with my own previous hospitalizations. This time we are in Stanford Hospital’s brand new wing and I am writing this from their Caregiver Center, where I will be all day while my husband is in surgery.
The Center a wonder of caregiver resources with sleeping couches ( we have been up since 3 AM to make his 6 AM appointment for surgery), a chapel and a caregiver consultant to help you. My daughter Kali is sleeping on one of the couches, the other daughter Jill reading on the sunny deck and I am blogging in their tech center for caregivers, looking at the Coastal mountains rimming the Pacific, here in Palo Alto. We have 6 hours to wait until my husband is in ICU and we can see him.
What is a patient advocate?
An effective advocate is someone you trust who is willing to act on your behalf as well as someone who can work well with other members of your healthcare team such as your doctors and nurses. An advocate may be a member of your family, such as a spouse, a child, another family member, or a close friend. Another type of advocate is a professional advocate. Hospitals usually have professionals who play this role called Patient Representatives or Patient Advocates. Social workers, nurses, and chaplains may also fill this role. These advocates can often be very helpful in cutting through red tape. It is helpful to find out if your hospital has professional advocates available, and how they may be able to help you.
I will blog through my journey this week, but I expect only the best results and Stanford is a great hospital and my three-woman team of my 2 daughters ( see us above – Pete with hearts on his face) and I will be excellent patient advocates.