Advocates Matter…Healthcare vs. Who Cares?
The diminished role of a patient advocate is a discouraging trend and part of the depersonalization of one’s personhood in the mental healthcare field. To be an advocate, someone other than the patient has to know and care enough to question and often fight with the medical team to share why a regimen of treatment is being used.
HIPAA compliances, a doctor’s hubris and confidentiality mandates keep many advocates at bay due to the administrative hoops required to protect the patient. Or, maybe we should ask the insurance industry that drives a multi-billion-dollar malpractice business? Needless to say, the doctor is compromised too. Dr. Marcus Welby, where are you?
The support team is prohibited from sharing detailed medical information or they will lose their jobs. As a result, the stone wall of ambiguous talk track information is dispersed as to not be held liable for sharing tmi (too much information). Isn’t this approach counter intuitive? Why not share as much as possible with the advocate so that person can engage as a concerned member of the team treating the patient and act as a liaison to the family…after all, who knows them better?
In the inner sanctums of a doctor / patient relationship, the strain and stresses of the patient, provider and the advocate(s) are raw and too real for some to cope with. The decision making process for the severely depressed patient is not one to be trusted and only makes for the compelling case to seek out an advocate who knows what is going on and add a sense of reason to the decision dynamic during not after the fact.
Again, legalities and other barriers surface to keep the doctor protected and the patients fending for themselves in the most vulnerable of situations one can be in…. bottom line seems to be the doctor resorts to a tried and true method of writing a prescription and the patient leaves with the hope they will take their meds consistently and responsibly…How is that working out? Next...