Recently I attended a doctor’s appointment with a new client.
Because she was a new client, I spent most of the time listening, in order to get up to speed with her health issues.
One of her complaints was that she was suffering with a UTI. She was prescribed a two week course of antibiotics. After doing this for six weeks, (script renewed every two weeks with the same antibiotic, three times) she still had the UTI. I was curious as to why the antibiotic had not been changed, so I asked the doctor.
And here is her jaw dropping, stunning response.
“It is not my job to teach you medicine”
Actually Doc it is.
It is your job! It is your job to make sure the patient understands what is going on with their illness and disease. It is your job to answer questions and respond truthfully. It is your job to explain why the treatment is not working and what you think may or may not work. And if you don’t know, that’s ok, just say so.
It is your job to give the patient a clear understanding of their treatment options, so THEY can decide how they want to proceed. It is your job to explain all the risks and benefits of that treatment. It is your job to educate the patient so they can be informed decision makers about their health.
How can you do any of that if you don’t “teach medicine”?
The majority of doctors are natural teachers. Most will explain, take the time to answer questions, and I’ve even known some to draw a picture. All to ensure the patient understands what is going on with their health and can make informed educated decisions.
So if you ever find yourself in an office with a doctor who tells you she is not there to teach you medicine, look around and find the nearest exit sign. Then walk out that door.
Please reach out to us if you or a loved one is in need of a patient advocate to attend doctor visits and make sure the important questions get answered.
Whose role is it?
Doctors and patient advocates work together to ensure appropriate healthcare decisions.
• Licensed to maintain human health through accurate diagnosis and treatment of ailments and acute illness.
• Refer, where appropriate, to healthcare specialists.
• Clearly explain all treatment options including risks and benefits to patients and their caregivers.
• Prescribe medications and check for drug interactions.
• Explain all prescribed medications and their side effects to patients and caregivers.
• Advise patients how to stay healthy.
• Keep up to date by reading medical journals, continuing education and conference attendance.
• ….and most importantly…..Educate the patient so they can be informed decision-makers about their health.
PATIENT ADVOCATE’S ROLE:
• Coordinate and act as liaison with medical professionals to ensure a patient centered approach to healthcare.
• Accompany clients to doctor visits and advocates on your behalf.
• Acts as a second set of eyes and ears, clarifying and probing, to make sure your questions are answers and your concerns are recognized.
• Ensure you understand your healthcare options.
• Clarifying options for diagnostic tests, procedures or treatment choices, ensuring informed consent.
• Facilitate communication among all your doctors, caregivers, hospitals and rehabilitation facilities.
• Locate specialists and treatment facilities for your specific illnesses.
• Manage discharge planning, next steps and transitional care.
• Facilitate rehabilitation and follow up care. Help families understand acute and subacute rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities, homecare and long term care options.
Contact Jackie O’Doherty at 908-832-0417 or visit http://myhealthcareconnect.com for additional information.