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Health advocacy refers to medical actions associated with guaranteeing access to quality health care, reporting health discriminations, rallying resources, operating the system, prompting health strategies and forming system change at the community and individual stages. Nurses and social workers play a vital role in healthcare advocacy; however, anyone that assists patients in manoeuvring the healthcare system and earns their trust is considered a health advocate (Mason et al., 2020). Health practitioners and organizations should be involved in health care promotion by ensuring that patients obtain quality care and make knowledgeable medical choices. Additionally, most health organizations ought to build on their interactions and communication with patients for active healthcare distribution.
Professional health advocates are mostly clinical or nonclinical individuals equipped with experience since they tend to have a healthcare background such as nursing or administrator. They are involved in coordinating patient care among multiple providers, interpreting diagnostic results, medications and treatment and negotiating expenses with healthcare providers (Arabi et al., 2018). Most old patients suffering from chronic ailments require meeting with several experts and clinicians, each giving different opinions on the disease in question. Hence, it is the responsibility of an advocate to coordinate such visits and ensure the patient is comfortable. Upon receiving a diagnosis, a professional advocate helps interpret medical terminologies for the patients understanding while making the necessary payments to the health providers involved.
A personal healthcare advocate is either a caregiver, friend, relative or spouse that assists the patient in getting better health care. A personal advocate performs several responsibilities to care for their loved ones, such as; voicing patients’ concerns, responding to inquiries from doctors about the patient’s health history, and assisting patients in understanding information given by doctors during medical appointments (Mason et al., 2020). Personal advocates also help their patients manage prescriptions, ensuring that they are taken at the right time and amount. The advocate emotionally and physically supports patients during their medical journeys easing the impact of the emotional burden it may have on the family members and patient. Additionally, personal advocates further ask for enquiries regarding additional appointments and the side effects of the medication administered to the patient.
Healthcare guidelines can influence the quality and effective distribution of health care. According to the Department of Health and Human Services in United States and the American Medical Association, health supporters can assist patients in navigating strategies such as safety requirements, which diminish the danger of injury and infection; legal obligations, which guard both healthcare employees and patients; and health principles, which safeguard patients’ rights and confidentiality (Arabi et al., 2018). Nurses are in exceptional positions to be advocates for health on behalf of the public. Therefore, they should identify that the radical ideology of the health care system and policy-making procedure will shape nursing management, whether it is clinical, political or academic leadership. In the planning arena, nurses would enact laws and regulations that would focus on positive changes in the health care systems, enhancing the quality of patients’ care.
Arabi, A., Rafii, F., Cheraghi, M. A., & Ghiyasvandian, S. (2018). Nurses’ policy influence: A concept analysis. Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research.
Mason, D. J., Perez, A., McLemore, M. R., & Dickson, E. (2020). Policy & Politics in Nursing and Health Care-E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences.