Take Charge of Your Health - Self Advocacy


Take Charge of Your Health - Self Advocacy

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better, it's not.
-Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Self-Advocacy:  Your Voice Is Important

Although we often cannot choose the level of wellness or the kinds of illness or disease that may affect us during our lifetime, we all have the opportunity to take charge of our health by advocating for ourselves - determining who will care for us, how we want to be treated and what support will be most beneficial to us.
The purpose of our Health-E³ website is to “Educate. Engage. Empower.” because we believe that each of us must be a proactive participant in our health care. We must become better patients. To do so, we must learn to become our own advocate and enter into a relationship with our care providers where we are the center of the team and not standing on the sidelines mindlessly following directions. We need to educate ourselves on wellness, prevention, our conditions, treatment and supportive care options. We need to engage in decision-making as a co-owner of our health with a care team we trust. It is then we will feel empowered and gain a sense of control and confidence.
If we are too ill to be actively involved in our care, then we need to select someone to advocate for us – a close friend or family member who we know will represent our wishes and be our “voice.” A good advocate is someone who is local, knows you well, is organized, assertive, comfortable asking questions, is a good communicator and is willing to dedicate this time to you.
A successful health care journey starts with finding the right team of experts - people who listen, ask pertinent questions, respect our emotions, beliefs, preferences, goals and choices, and truly care about our health. Once the right team is in place, developing strong communication and a relationship with your care team is not a “nice to have,” it is a “must have” to optimize your satisfaction level, your adherence to your health plan and your health outcome. The right information with the right communication are powerful tools for your better health.
To be a strong advocate:

  • Be honest and share your complete health history
  • Talk about how you are currently feeling and all of your circumstances, symptoms or side effects
  • Learn as much as you can about any condition you may have
  • Prepare in advance and ask questions. If you are confused, overwhelmed or if something does not sound right, speak up, feel free to challenge, question and make suggestions to your care team
  • Never hesitate to ask for a second opinion

Remember you are the expert on you. No medical professional will ever have the vast amount of knowledge you have about your own mind and body; you are the only one that possesses that wealth of information. It is essential you advocate for yourself and add your expertise to the medical knowledge of your health care team.
It’s your health and your life – go ahead, take control and insist on the care you deserve.

Sydney Sharek1 Comment