Mayo supports patient advocates

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — The patient advocate concept is a proven method of improving communication between healthcare providers and their patients, and is being fully supported by Mayo Regional Hospital.

    Mayo has formed a Patient Advocacy Group to encourage use of advocates for patients, whether they be admitted to the hospital, receiving outpatient treatment or having an appointment with their primary caregiver.

    “It can be a stressful and confusing time for patients receiving care,” said Nancy Davis, quality and Compliance Specialist at Mayo. “People are often not at their best under these circumstances, and should not be expected to absorb every bit of information, or to think of all the questions they would like answered. They also may not remember important instructions given to them.”

    Encouraging patients to have a trusted advocate accompany them to medical appointments or treatments, as part of their healthcare team, can help. An adult friend, family member or neighbor can keep notes and ask questions, share in understanding discharge information, and obtain the patient’s medication list.

    Davis said advocates should be trustworthy and respectful of the patient’s privacy, objective, strong communicators, and willing to make sure the patient’s wishes are heard. Advocates can help a patient make decisions about their care, and receive instructions from caregivers after a primary care visit or hospital stay. A medical release of information form must be signed by the patient before any personal health information can be given to anyone else, including the patient advocate, without the patient’s permission.

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