July 31, 2017

Your Advocacy

By Jamie Long
The “Passionte Patient Advocate”
GolderCare Solutions and Jamieson Long & Associates

You Owe It To Mom

“You OWE it to your family,” the commercial insists.

“Owe what?” you might ask.

The commercial provides us with the answer in no uncertain terms. It urges anyone who even suspects that a nursing home is neglecting his loved one to call a trial lawyer.

A trial lawyer?!  Really??  Why not the Army or the CIA?

Those who take the commercial seriously are then soberly reconfirmed in their conviction that “Nursing homes MUST be held accountable.”

Wait a minute! Stop the presses. There’s something wrong here. Since when is the first order of business holding the nursing home accountable?  How did that appear in the patient care protocol at all?

If Joe Blow is in charge of his mother’s care, he’d better worry about what HE should be doing. And if he suspects the nursing home is neglecting Mom, he’d better worry about what HE should do about it.

Since Joe is serving as Mom’s decision maker, directing her care, he owes it to Mom to get her the care she needs. If necessary, he will have to advocate on her behalf in order to get it. That’s Joe’s job. That’s his duty. Getting Mom the care she needs has got to be Joe’s priority and first order of business. Not wasting his time trying to hold the nursing home accountable now. There’ll be plenty of time to hold the nursing home accountable later should need be. Hopefully, that can be avoided.

If Joe suspects the nursing home is neglecting Mom, he needs to address that issue with the appropriate nursing home personnel.  He needn’t become combative.  He simply needs to discuss the issue with them in a respectful manner. This is in everyone’s best interest, most especially Mom’s. It aims at
getting her the care she needs, and it does so in a manner which is least likely to cause the breakdown of the caregiver-patient relationship between the nursing home and Mom.

What if, instead of pursuing Mom’s care issue with the nursing home, Joe goes off on a crusade and concentrates on trying to bring the nursing home to justice? Mom might now be doubly neglected. First, by the nursing home, and, second, by Joe.

Joe’s neglecting Mom?  Oh my gosh!  Will he now owe it to his family to sue himself for that? Surprisingly, the commercial doesn’t address that issue.

What happens, you might ask further, if Joe can’t get the nursing home’s attention and it continues to neglect or mistreat Mom?

What is Joe to do then? Should he immediately go nuclear and haul the nursing home into court, or is there a better – more modulated – response?

As you predicted, I’m sure, there is indeed a better and more modulated response. If Joe’s advocacy alone isn’t enough to get Mom the care she needs, he should indeed seek the services of a professional advocate to help him. But he needs to get the right professional advocate for the right kind of advocacy.

In such a situation, Joe would be much better off to obtain the help of an independent patient advocate. And so would Mom. For care advocacy, you need a patient advocate, not a trial lawyer. Trial lawyers are for when you’re advocating for legal redress – that is, when you seek to hold someone legally accountable for the damages they’ve caused.

As Mom’s primary advocate, it’s your job to get her the right care at the right time.  To manage properly, you’ve got to prioritize correctly and advocate for the right thing at the right time. At times, you will likely need professional help. Make sure you use the right advocate at the right time.

As a general rule, if you need help advocating for Mom’s care, always call an independent patient advocate first. Even if you just need guidance in making the best decisions regarding her care, call an independent patient advocate.

As Mom’s primary advocate, your job is to get her the care she needs. If you need help, you need to get the right help.  You need to hire a independent patient advocate. Whether or not you owe it to your family, you owe it to Mom.

Upcoming GolderCare

Senior Empowerment Series in depth discussions:

  August 9 – Getting Your Ducks in Order

      at the Radisson on River Drive, Moline

  September 13 – Senior Living – Depression & Anxiety, What is NOT Normal and How to Get Help

      at the Radisson on River Drive, Moline

Both discussions start at 10 a.m.and are free and open to the public.

Jamie Long is the owner of GolderCare Solutions and has earned a Certificate from the Professional Patient Advocate Institute. You can reach Jamie at GolderCare Solutions Unlimited, LLC (309) 764-2273.

Kathy Nitz is the Lead Benefits Advocate for GolderCare Solutions. She uses her wealth of knowledge and experience in benefits planning to advocate for seniors and those who are disabled.  You can reach Kathy at GolderCare Solutions Unlimited, LLC (309) 764-2273.