ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What it means to be someone's medical advocate.

Updated on April 22, 2015

Being an Advocate for friend, family member or both is one of the most important jobs we can ever be ask to do. This job requires all of our emotional and educational abilities brought to a consciousness. How can we do this to the best of our ability?

We must consciously clear our own beliefs, learned behavior and open our mind to the person we represent. I feel certain that some are saying if it is necessary to do all this then why was I ask to do this. If the person chose me they must have chose me because of these beliefs, knowledge and attitude. All of what you are thinking and feeling is true, however it is governed by the persons’ belief that we can put our ‘stuff’ aside while advocating for them. We are being asked to act on their beliefs, learned behavior and very basic learned reactions. This is not an ability we can just switch off our own stuff and turn on someone most intimate, basic beliefs.

The ability to be a focused and stand-in for or person is one of the most caring acts we can do. We need to have the ear of physicians treating and consulting in the care of our friend. It is also important to have a basic knowledge of what this person is being treated for. If we have a working knowledge of health care for this person, even if we are put in a position of advocating when a brand new diagnosis comes on the seen. (Example; our family member has a diagnosis of MS but we have come to the hospital due to significant pain in their stomach area. While the diagnosis of the new medical problem, we have the job of making sure physicians are considering how and what the treatment of choice may have on the MS. We need to remind the physicians of allergies as when in emergent situation a new physician on the scene may not have all this information. One example of this is our family member is allergic to shellfish and the new physician has just order a CAT scan. Our first reaction should be to state the allergy and ask if the CAT Scan is with contrast. (If a person is allergic to shellfish – contrast for x-ray procedures can be deadly.) Everything accomplished in the aforementioned example is what our family member would have done for himself or herself if they had been able. This is what an advocate does.

Rarely is an advocate in the position of a choice about death. Physicians will seek out family or clergy if one is a known confident in the person’s life. Our roll is primarily one of keeping the train on the tracks for the duration of our person not being able to answer for him or her. The family, friend or other must make the medical provider aware of your position as an advocate for them. The position should be documented in our primary Care Physician’s records. This position is one we might want a certified copy of a letter giving us this permission too so there is no confusing. There are legal documents that can also give this permission. Perhaps the first act as an advocate, after being ask to fill this position is too request legal documentation of your involvement.

Next we must look deep into ourselves and be sure that we can step up to the plate if necessary. This is not an easy position to fill. We cannot let our beliefs guide us. Perhaps our family member is a very committed religious person and we are not, Can we put our religious beliefs aside and speak up for our friend? Can we ask to have a member of this faith come by and see them? What if our friend is to sick to even acknowledge those present for a visit, can we grab a notebook of some kind and have people sign it adding words of kindness to show they came by? The ultimate question is, can we put our life on hold while this person is ill and needs us?

Very probably this seems at the moment to be overkill, I can assure you this may not be even close. Possibly the most difficult is when our friend asks us to stand up to close family members and share our friends wishes for care in this situation. We must think about these situations and answer the question of “Can I be an Advocate if and why there is a need?” We need to carefully consider and then answer this question with our eyes wide open and agree to be in for the long haul. If we can’t do this it is so much wiser to simply say “I don’t think I can do that, let me help you find someone who can.”

Next week: Where do we find an Advocate, outside of our family or friends?


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MGWriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Marsha Caldwell 

      3 years ago from Western Washington State

      Have you been or made use of a Medical Advocate in the last year? Tell me about your experience.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)