Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Advocacy

It is very important, if you have the skills, to advocate for the ones you love. If you need an advocate, because you don't have the skills, get one.

I had the occasion to be present at a grandchild's appointment for repeat diagnostic testing and reassessment today at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. It's truly amazing how far we have come in the world of pediatric medicine. Granted, CHOA may be among the best in the nation, but still we have come a long way since my children were little and treated as adult patients. Children's is indeed child focused and very caring but still, YOU MUST BE AN ADVOCATE FOR YOUR CHILD.

Little people not only can't speak for themselves; they usually aren't privy to what's new and accepted and essential for their well being. You can't worry about being rude or demanding. You must expect that you will receive the treatment you demand because you have the understanding of what is needed.

Children should receive sedation for invasive tests, even if the tech says it's not routinely done. If there isn't an order from the provider, insist that one is obtained. If you desire a particular individual to administer whatever is needed for your child, request that individual, while making the appointment. And if that doesn't work, demand that individual at the time of the appointment, or reschedule the appointment.

Patients have rights. And advocates, be they grandparents or parents or guardians of the state are entitled to respectfully request that those rights be met. It is essential that we speak up for our loved ones. The young, the in firmed, the aged. We will never get what we want from the health care system if we don't do our homework, know what is required and speak out about what we expect. Even if that means acquiring an advocate.

Ultimately, the responsibility now lies with us. And our children deserve our absolute advocacy and protection. Ask questions, expect answers and most importantly, follow your gut instincts about what you think needs to be done. This isn't a popularity contest for best patients of the year; this is real life. You make a tremendous difference if you advocate.