Independent Patient Advocacy: Lessons Learned from My Mother
Updated: May 2
My mother Margaret (Peg) played a major influence in my life. She instilled in me a sense of responsibility, kindness and empathy for which I am eternally grateful. She was an advocate for the sick and is responsible, in part, for my becoming an independent patient advocate.
Mom was a highly intelligent and respected nurse who served our country as a Captain in the Air Force during the Cold War. My family always joked that she outranked our father when they met at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska. My childhood and adult memories include watching mom defer to her Merck Manual and Surgical Nursing Manual as she researched medical conditions. Mom was so ambitious that she went back to school in her 50's to attain her Master's Degree in Education and helped start a medical assistant program at a local, private college in Savannah, Georgia.
While in nursing school and working at a VA hospital, mom was taught the importance of touching the patient, listening, and showing compassion. She took care of patients stricken with polio, who were in iron lungs. While working in a mental health facility, mom saved a patient who was having a heart attack. She had a generous heart, enduring faith in God and took pride in taking care of her patients, as well as her family. Her only weakness was that she was so independent, she would not ask for help later in life when she really needed it.
Unfortunately, my mother was misdiagnosed late in life and went on to suffer unnecessarily for years. Her quality of life was severely impacted due to not identifying and treating the root cause of a specific condition. She lived her later years taking band-aid medications for symptoms, which only worsened her condition. In our fragmented healthcare system, my mother would be classified as a patient with multiple chronic conditions (MCC). Sadly, due to my complex, undiagnosed illness during this time, I was not well enough to be my mom's dedicated advocate.
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:28-31 (NIV)
As stated from the National Library of Medicine in Multiple Chronic Conditions: Prevalence, Health Consequences, and Implications for Quality, Care Management, and Costs:
"The number of persons in the United States who have not just a single chronic condition, but multiple co-occurring chronic conditions is large and growing. In 2005, 21% or roughly 63 million Americans had more than 1 chronic condition, or multiple illnesses or impairments expected to last a year or longer. A persons’ risk of having more than 1 chronic condition, henceforth referred to as multiple chronic conditions or MCC, increases with age: 62% of Americans over 65 have MCC. Persons with multiple chronic conditions are particularly vulnerable to suboptimal quality care. They tend to use services more frequently and to use a greater array of services than other consumers of care. This makes coordination of care more difficult for individuals with multiple chronic conditions."
Q: What does this have to do with Independent Patient Advocacy?
Did You Know?
Although insurance companies and hospitals employ patient advocates, their allegiance is not to the patient. They offer or may provide services which are limited in scope. They also work for and are paid, on behalf of their company.
The only way a patient can count on total allegiance is through a private, independent patient advocate. As an independent patient advocate, my total allegiance is to my client. As a member of The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates (APHA), I also abide by The Code of Conduct & Professional Standards for Professional, Independent Health & Patient Advocates.
So WHY do my clients come to me?
They have complex, unusual symptoms or multiple chronic health conditions (MCC) that seem to be unsolvable. These complex conditions can range from autoimmune disease (e.g. Lupus or Hashimoto's Thyroiditis), to chronic upper respiratory (URI) or sinus infections, early stage MS, Dementia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ADHD, or COVID Long Haulers.
They were active, athletic individuals and are now experiencing severe quality of life issues.
They are frustrated, scared and tired of getting the runaround, with no real diagnosis.
They are questioning their diagnosis and seeking a second and/or third opinion
They are not feeling heard or being taken seriously by their practitioner.
They have found no improvement taking their prescribed medications and are ready to explore functional and/or integrative healthcare navigation options.
They want an ethical, transparent independent patient advocate who will
coordinate their care and collaborate with their healthcare team.
Have you ever heard the expression: "You get what you pay for?"
My mother was a veteran, nurse and educator. Her healthcare was FREE through Tricare and Medicare but sadly, the root cause of her condition was never identified correctly. She was unaware of her options (e.g. Functional Medicine and/or a second opinion) and was taught to never question her doctor. Our fragmented healthcare system failed her, and continues to fail millions of people.
My clients are treated like family, which means I will also fight for your patient rights if necessary. I act as a trusted advisor and ensure my clients are treated with compassion, dignity and respect. I have a special place in my heart for those who served our country and their families.
The first 15 minutes of our discussion is complimentary.
I will always treasure fond memories of my mother! She was very special to me and my siblings. If you are a mother and/or blessed with having your mother, I hope you have a
Happy Mother's Day! I also want to pay tribute to the special caregivers who are taking care of your precious mother!
I will leave you with a beautiful song of hope by six time Dove Award winner and Christian contemporary music artist Kari Jobe. Healer
Remember, this is your life! Don't settle or give up! Contact me today!
Founder & Chief Patient Advocate
PURITY PATIENT ADVOCATES LLC
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