Rubbing Elbows

As a patient advocate in private practice, especially if you are a solo practitioner, it can get lonely to be the only one who really understands what your work life is like. Believe me – I know this!  I’ve been self-employed, working from home, since 2001.

No coffee pot convergence early in the morning. No water cooler chat. No one in the employee break room, or popping over to my desk to say, “Let’s grab lunch!”

No distractions (welcome or otherwise.) No commiserating. Just me, my phone, my computer, and… silence.

Yes. If that’s your situation, too, then I get it.

Some of you are reading this thinking, “Oh my! Sounds like heaven!” But if that’s what you’re thinking, you probably haven’t worked for years at home by yourself 🙂

Truth be told – I love it. It fits me. I get a LOT done! And when I walk away from my desk in the late afternoon, I have often crossed many tasks off my list.

But there is one HUGE (and I do mean HUGE) downside to this sort of work environment. That is….

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What Could Go Wrong? Managing Expectations. Establishing Boundaries

Mrs. Franklin is 87 years old and has several old-age-related health challenges. Although her husband died many years ago, she has lived quite well on her own since then. Her son, Jimmy, lives 800 miles away. She has no other children.

Jimmy Franklin has hired you to be his mother’s advocate; to attend appointments with her, to arrange for her transportation to those appointments, and to provide feedback to him about his mother’s health, including her cognitive abilities. He reports that she’s been forgetful lately. He’s also worried something will happen and if she needs hospitalization, he wants to be sure you’ll be there to advocate for her, at least to stay with her until he can make travel arrangements.

The stage has been set….

What could go wrong? Plenty. Here is an example, and some must-do tasks to go along with it:

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Case Matters

Aha! I am guessing that you, as a health or patient advocate or care or even CASE manager, think this tip will address just that – case management – how you plan, handle, and track the work you do throughout a single patient’s case.

True?

Aha again! No! That’s not it.

Not that those things aren’t important – they most certainly are. In fact, all that planning, handling, and tracking is vitally important to the success of your work, and the improved outcomes of your client, and should be documented very carefully.

But that’s not today’s topic… today’s topic is just what the title says – it’s about case. In CASE you are confused…

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Come Again? Garbled Words Drive Prospective Clients Away

In any given week, I probably retrieve 15 or 20 business-related voice mails.

  • For at least half of them, I cannot understand the person’s name. Period.
  • Almost half leave their phone number so quickly that I have to go back through the voice mail several times to get the whole thing. 
  • There are always a few that I can never return because I cannot understand the phone number left for me no matter how many times I listen.
  • And then there are the ones that leave no phone number at all, but expect me to call them back anyway.

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Thinking Beyond Can Enhance Your Reputation and Make You a Hero

As independent advocates, we help clients who have encountered challenges with something related to their healthcare. That’s what we do. That’s our job.

But sometimes it’s those things we aren’t expected to do that can make us THE go-to person when someone needs healthcare assistance. Those extra touches that interface with our work, but aren’t the first things that come to mind when someone thinks of health or patient advocacy or care management.

For example….

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