Frequently asked questions
Why do I need a private patient advocate when I can google everything myself?
The medical system is overwhelming and complicated. It is easy to get lost, especially when you are not at you best. I will help you navigate the complexities of the healthcare system.
I don't know the right questions to ask my doctor. Can you help me prepare for my appointment?
At our first meeting, we will review in detail your concerns and goals. Then I will prepare a summary for you to use at the doctor's office. I will assist you in preparing questions that you may consider asking along with any questions you might have.
Will you come with me to my doctor's appointment?
Yes, if my schedule allows. I prefer to be present at your appointments as to minimize communication errors. Appointments are usually 8 to 10 minutes, and there a lot of information being relayed.I will be there to help you understand it and that all of your concerns are being communicated to your doctor. I will write a summary after the appointment, provide any necessary education about the diagnosis or treatment plan and ensure you know what your next steps are. If I cannot make your appointment, I ask you to record the coversation so that we may review it later. Please always ask your Physcian for permission to do so.
What if I am in the hospital or have an upcoming procedure? Can you still help me?
I will meet with you and help you understand what is happening. I will make sure your care team has the correct information about your medical history, medications, and allergies to help avoid preventable medical errors. I will advocate on your behalf to ensure all diagnoses are considered. I will try to be present for daily rounds so that I hear all the plans and can intercede on your behalf. I will review with you key areas of danger in a hospital setting ( infection control, clot prevention, fall prevention, etc) and make sure you are safe as you can be while in the hospital. The hospital is a very stressful place for patients. I can be a calm source of information and will take the time to enure you understand your diagnoisis, treatment options, and discharge instructions
I want to be proactive with my health so when something arises I am well prepared. Can you help me with that?
My motto is "be proactive with your health, not reactive"!! This is the best time to consult with me! I can organize your medical informaiton for you, create a summary sheet of your medical conditions and care, current medications, and reveiw preventative needs. Having all of this organized BEFORE you get sick will make sure you are ready when you do get sick. An emergecy can happen in an instant. I will provide you with an action list with next steps that I recommend you take to improve your health.
What is the difference between a private patient advocate and a hospital advocate?
A private patient advocate works for YOU, not the hospital. I have your best interests in mind, whereas hospital patient advocates are ultimately covering the hospitals best interests. I am able to attend appointments with you in any hospital system and can recommend second opinions that are best for your particular diagnosis. That physican might not be part of the hospital advocates system. I have no obligation to the hospital or to any insurance company. I have only YOUR best interests in mind.
I do not live in the Birmingham area - can you still help me?
Absolutely!! With the use of videoconferencing, I can assist you wherever you are. If there is an advocate in your area, I might recommend them based of your indiviudal needs. But in many cases I am able to advocate from a distance. We can discuss your situation and determine what is best for you.
How much do your services cost?
Hughes Advocacy works on a retainer fee for a total of 10 hours. Once the 10 hours is exahusted, you can decide if you would like to add 10 more hours to extend advocacy services. All services are included to any family memeber who falls under the same insurance policy within the household. Also, pleease see the pdf attachment below for additional pricing information.