Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Politics and Patient Advocacy
What does today’s politics have to do with being a patient advocate?
In our Family Centered Patient Advocacy Training which is based on being a Patient Safety Advocate for friends, family or becoming a professional, we stress the importance of being a good listener and being objective. This past election year and the past weeks have become a great test for these skills.
As I listen to the news, I hear opposing comments and ideas. Depending on what channel I watch there can be very strong opinions one way or another. One reporter or speaker won’t make me change my mind, won’t make me feel differently, but it gives me the skills to try to understand that what is being said is important to the people saying it and the people supporting them.
I am glad that there are people speaking out on their beliefs. That is important to our country. It has never been OK to call names and poke fun of people’s looks or behavior when that is not the focus of the issues. It loses credibility when I hear about the way a person dresses, walks or laughs and that becomes part of the discussion.
Being a patient’s advocate means being able to focus on facts and what really matters to the patient. Being objective which may mean putting your own feelings aside to listen and then allow a patient to make their own decisions, even if it’s not what you would want for yourself - or them.
If you are a friend or family member acting as an advocate for a loved one who wants to have surgery but you don't think its a good idea, it means listening carefully and trying to understand what they want and why they want it that way. If you can’t get past your own needs then you may not be the best advocate. Find an advocate that can be objective and right for the whole family.
As I watch what looks like a civil war starting on our own soil, I want to get some good out of this. It may be to just practice my listening.