Patient Advocacy

The following are two examples of ways you could demonstrate patient advocacy:

1) Description: Near the time of discharge, sit down with one of your patients who will need treatment even after leaving the hospital and ask them to describe their hospital experience (what their understanding is of their diagnosis and the treatments received), how they will cope at home, what resources they will use, etc. This will be most enlightening if you choose patients with limited resources who still require many medications and/or services rather than an educated, resource rich patient with a self-limited problem. Some students have conducted this like an interview using the format of the discharge summary to guide their questions, while others have had a less structured conversation.

Submission instructions: Briefly summarize the patient’s responses to your question. (E.g. what they thought their diagnosis was, did they understand the treatment plan, whether they could adhere to the plan, barriers they identify to adherence). Next reflect on barriers you perceive to patient adherence and propose solutions to minimize them. (Try to emphasize things that we can impact now as opposed to “we need universal healthcare” type solutions.) If you think the patient is likely to do well after discharge, provide your reflections on why and how we can apply these successes to other patients.

2) Description: If you have the opportunity to advocate for an underserved patient to get necessary resources or supports, write about this. For example you may discover a patient qualifies for a discount drug plan and you help enroll them. You do not need to have been successful in obtaining the desired resources for your patient. If you learned something for the process of trying, that can be submitted too.

Submission instructions: Briefly describe what you did and comment about its effect on the quality of your patient’s care. (Is what you did something that should/could be incorporated into the system of healthcare? How?)