Stacks of insurance papers, piles of bills, doctors who seem to speak a foreign language…navigating health care dollars and diagnoses can be frustrating. But you don’t have to wander these medical mazes alone: Find a powerful partner by enlisting the help of senior advocacy services.
Advocates’ roles and responsibilities
Sometimes called a patient advocate, health care advocates often are former nurses, social workers or other health care workers who help seniors with everything from managing medical finances to understanding lab results and diagnoses.
Consider your advocate a “go-to person” for your parent’s senior care. Advocates may attend doctor’s appointments with you to make sure the right questions are being asked, or they might help interpret lab results. They may also review your bills and be able to identify, for example, if you got a CT scan but were billed for an MRI.
Finding a reliable advocate
The National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants has a searchable online database that can help you find patient advocates in your area; your health care provider also may be able to provide referrals.
After you have some names in hand, interview prospective advocates to make sure they will be a good fit for your needs. Some questions to ask:
- What is your background?
- What are your credentials?
- What kind of services do you typically provide?
- What are your rates/how do you bill?
- Do you have references?
Keep in mind …
Advocates don’t have to be medical professionals; even a trusted family member or friend who understands the system and is willing to devote time to managing your care can serve as your advocate.
The Life Care Services team can help you get started with your search—and many retirement communities have staff members who can fulfill this role. Contact us to learn more.