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Families Need You: A Thanksgiving Opportunity
Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season are right around the corner. Smart health and patient advocates and care managers can find this season to be a golden opportunity to expand their reach in many positive ways. The holidays are family times. Generations come together. Inevitably someone is facing a health and/or health system challenge. Aunt Joan has a new cancer diagnosis and hasn’t even considered a second opinion. Dad needs help sorting out his meds, while daughter Francine questions about whether he’s taking the right drugs at the right times, or whether the prescriptions he’s taking are causing some new symptoms. Cousin Jack is drowning in medical debt; he has no idea know how to fight a denied claim, or choose the right health insurance plan. Uncle Victor, age 78, doesn’t have a DNR or a will because he doesn’t understand their importance. These are the times family members begin to worry – and wonder who can help out. The answer is YOU – a friend, a neighbor, a fellow church or temple congregant. YOU can help them. They probably just don’t know that. There are a few ways you can quite simply, and gently let them know that you are available should the need arise. Here are some ideas for getting the word out: Begin by making a list of friends and acquaintances you have phone numbers or email addresses for. Don’t worry about whether you know they need you or not. Often families keep these sorts of challenges private. Now, put together some sentences that address each of the following: 1. Appropriate greetings – as the holiday season arrives – Thanksgiving, New Years, plus whichever religious holidays their families celebrate. Ask how they are doing. Show empathy when you know its pertinent. 2. An announcement that you have launched a private, independent advocacy practice. 3. A brief reminder that sometimes families come together during the holidays, and may raise topics that are difficult or uncomfortable to discuss in relation to health matters, or hurdles that are caused by health problems… 4. Offer a solution, that as…