Standing Up for Our Patients – Those Aretha Franklin Moments

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Standing Up for Our Patients – Those Aretha Franklin Moments

This post asks the question:  At what points do we go to the wall for our patients?  And when we need to go there, what’s the best approach? Scenario: You’ve accompanied your patient-client to a medical appointment and the receptionist is rude to your patient when you check in.  Do you say or do anything?  And if so – how? Scenario:  As you sit by your patient’s hospital bedside, a nurse comes in to change a dressing already wearing gloves.  You ask her to wash her hands and put on new gloves and she cops an attitude.  Do you insist?  And if so, how? Scenario:  Your client needs to make a very difficult medical decision and has asked for your help to weigh the pros and cons, and to uncover additional possibilities.  You’ve walked him through all the possibilities – including those the doctor provided, and others you learned about through some research you did on his behalf.  His choice is not the same as the doctor’s recommendation, but when he gets to the appointment with his doctor to share his decision, the doctor tells him he’s making the wrong decision. Clearly uncomfortable, your client begins to backpeddle, to default to what the doctor has recommended.  Do you speak up on your patient’s behalf?  And if so, where do you start? As navigators and advocates, we’ve experienced these scenarios and others like them.  If one word could summarize the real problem, it’s the R word – RESPECT – and it’s what’s missing from the equation.  In all three cases, the provider (or office worker) is showing a lack of respect for your client. And yes, in all cases, you must stand up for your client. Must?  Yes, must.  Unless you believe your client has done something unethical or life threatening, I believe it’s your  duty as the person hired by the client to stand up on behalf of your patient-client.  (If they are doing unethical or life threatening things, then you really need to walk away from that client… but I digress….) Standing up for the client actually seems pretty…


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