April 30, 2013

Your Advocacy Connection – Patient Advocacy is What We Do

By Glenda Thomas
GolderCare Solutions

Recently, I was asked to be part of an expert panel. I was honored, and so I accepted the position to speak to incoming freshmen and their parents at our local high school. I would not exactly call myself an expert, yet I have been through the registration and college preparatory process favorably. As my experience is relevant only to my oldest son and those with similar interests, abilities and goals, I found myself giving advice and ending with the phrase, “Do not hesitate to contact your child’s guidance counselor.” This caused me to think about the patient advocacy we at Goldercare Solutions provide to our clients every day.

When we began in the high school registration process, we did our homework through research, talking with experienced parents and planning. Good college planning begins with solid high school planning. We knew this and wanted to make the most of each semester. Even with all our knowledge, it became necessary to have an advocate. My son’s guidance counselor proved to be that person. She was knowledgeable of the system, knew what colleges wanted, had knowledge of teachers and took into account my son’s academic ability and drive. She was unbiased and knew how to put all the pieces together to make the schedule fit. She even knew how to interpret special language in the student handbook and helped us to utilize these tidbits to my son’s benefit.

This is what we do at Goldercare Solutions. As the guidance counselor helps students and their families navigate the high school academic system, so too do we help people and their families navigate the long term care system. The best high school planning occurs before the child ever sets foot in the building. Does that mean that the guidance counselor cannot assist students who either change their minds or seek help for the first time during their junior year? No, but it does diminish their options and make the path a little more difficult. For example, I know students who have changed their college choice, only to find that the new college they want has requirements they have not planned into their schedule. Their guidance counselor can often help with some fancy planning. While this planning often meets the objective, it often makes for a tough senior year. To this end, early planning for long term care solutions result in the smoothest transitions and best plans.

Much like the guidance counselor, we are advocates. Instead of solving your high school academic problems, we solve your long term care problems. We are independent, knowledgeable of the situation and able to put each person’s particular care needs together with all the pieces of the puzzle, to develop a plan/schedule to best meet your needs. With a two-pronged emphasis on receiving appropriate care and paying for this care, our care and benefits advocates work together to reach objectives for our clients. One of the many ways we do this is through patient advocacy. We host bi-monthly interactive coaching discussions, focusing on empowering loved ones to navigate the healthcare maze successfully. These are open to the public and free of charge. Our next meeting is from 3 to 4 p.m., Thursday, May 16 at Goldercare Solutions. Seating is limited, so please call ahead at (309) 764-2273 (CARE) to reserve your place.

If you are entering this phase of your life with a loved one, and you have talked with all the ‘experts’ in your life, but still have questions, give us a call. We specialize in solving your long term care problems.

Glenda Thomas is a Benefits Advocate at GolderCare Solutions Unlimited. She holds a Masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Northern Illinois University. Her love of numbers and people make her a valuable asset in assisting our clients at GolderCare Solutions Unlimited.