Managing vascular diseases, like Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), requires a lot of decision-making. Whether treatment involves a lifestyle change or requires a procedure, patients rely on a great support system to help make the best choices about their care. It is important that patients feel comfortable with the process or they might avoid medical care altogether. Avoidance of medical care can be due to cost, distrust of medical professionals, fear of knowing, or other reasons. This is why patient advocates play a huge role in the patient journey.
What is a Patient Advocate?
Patient Advocates play an incredibly important role because they essentially help patients communicate more effectively so that they get the information they need to make decisions about their own health care. Patient advocates can help provide patients with educational materials and inform the patient about different treatment options that may be available. They may also assist patients set up appointments for doctor visits and medical tests and acquire financial, legal, and social support for various portions of their journey.
Patients may need an advocate throughout the diagnosis and treatment processes, coordinating with medical professionals, reviewing treatment choices, or even finding the right vascular partner, reviewing background in health and medicine, as a doctor, nurse, or other medical professions. Patient Advocates could be family members, mission-driven organizations, primary care physicians or other medical professionals patients interact along their patient journey. At Modern Vascular, we have a team of Modern Vascular Patient Advocates that take calls and answer patient questions throughout their journey, all at no cost to the patient.
Actions to Promote Patient Advocacy
In our mission to eradicate lower leg and foot amputation in the general public and specifically underserved communities, patient education and advocacy are at the forefront. Here are 5 key strategies Modern Vascular patient advocates take to make sure every patient feels seen, heard, and understood.
Good Communication and Listening
One of the best tools of communication is listening. It is very important to let each patient tell their story. We may ask the same medical screening questions when we first meet a patient but behind these questions is a unique story that can only be told by the patient themselves. Listening to their recitals helps us offer customized advice, build positive expectations, and aid in the medical screen process.
Compassion and Empathy
These qualities are different than sympathy. We let the patient know we understand their pain, concerns, and needs without feeling sorry for them. That is not what they want. They prefer understanding. When we go over the screening, and touch on the symptoms they are experiencing, this gives them a great sense of acceptance, validation, and understanding. When patients feel understood, they are much more likely to have trust in our recommendations.
By listening and providing validation to what they are feeling, we are showing the patient that we care, we understand, and we are here to help. All of these qualities build trust in the relationship. With this trust, we build a bond with each patient and they realize they are not just another number but a very special and important part on Modern Vascular. Trust is very important in every relationship, especially the patient/caregiver affiliation.
We want each Modern Vascular patient to know in detail the services we offer. As we talk about each step of the process we always “check-in” to make sure they understand each stride. As we go over each action we ask them questions such as, “Does this make sense to you?”, “Are we going down the right path?” or “Does this sound beneficial to you?” These questions pose as a platform where the patients can express their concerns or validate their affinities.
Honesty and Accuracy
If a patient does not have PAD or is not likely to benefit from our services, we tell them. There is nothing to be gained by bringing the wrong patients into our clinics. When a consultation is merited, we always include a full report for the clinic. The more that physicians or nurses know, the better equipped they are to provide accurate and effective care to that patient.
Great patient advocates ask the important questions that impact patient outcomes. This is particularly true with PAD where the stakes are so high. When the right patient advocacy can result in saving limbs and lives, having a great team in place becomes that much more important.
To learn more about Modern Vascular or to find answers to your PAD-related problems, you can call (888) 853-1278 or use the online form at ModernVascular.com to request a consultation with a Modern Vascular Patient Advocate.