Alert
Close

Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Join the Drive to End Hunger!

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
America's Winter Escapes Sweepstakes
Introducing RealPad by AARP
You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

share your thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

My Medical Manager

Why You May Need a Health Advocate

There are times it's important to have a helpful friend, relative or professional at your side

Imagine your doctor has just given you a serious diagnosis or told you she was concerned about the results of your medical test. You might understandably be frightened. 

Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter.

Listening carefully to your doctor and asking questions about a diagnosis or test results can help you get better care. But here’s the problem: Just when you should be paying close attention to what your doctor is saying, you may be stunned by the news you've received.

That’s when having a health or patient advocate can help. 

A health advocate can be a family member, friend, trusted coworker, or a hired professional who accompanies you to your appointments and asks questions, writes down information, and speaks up for you so you can better understand your illness and get the care you need. (For more about hiring an advocate, see the sidebar on the next page.)

Research shows that quality health care requires taking an active role in decisions about your care. If you’re facing a difficult medical decision, it’s a good idea to bring someone with you who can help focus on your care when you’re not fully up to it

As a doctor and a patient, I’ve seen how valuable it is to have "another set of ears and eyes" in the exam room. Having an advocate at medical appointments or during a hospital stay can ensure that you get the information you need to manage your health. 

Health advocates can:

  • Ask questions or voice concerns to your doctor for you.
  • Compile or update your medicine list.
  • Remember your medication regimen and help you follow treatment. instructions, including asking questions about your follow-up care.
  • Help arrange transportation.
  • Research treatment options, procedures, doctors, and hospitals.
  • File paperwork or assist with insurance matters.
  • Ask the "what’s next" questions, such as, "If this test is negative what does it mean? If it’s positive, will more tests be needed?"

 

Of course, many encounters with the medical system are routine and don’t require the use of a patient advocate. But there are instances when an advocate can be valuable. For example, if you’ve had a series of tests and you’re concerned the results may reveal a diagnosis such as cancer, you might want to bring an advocate with you to hear and discuss the results.

Next: Hiring an advocate. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points