Patient Advocacy at UAMS
Our goal is to create the best possible care experience with you and your family. Illness and recovery can be a stressful time. If you have a compliment, suggestion or concern regarding your care, we hope that you can share this directly with your health care team. Your health care team includes your doctor, nurse, care manager, therapist and other professionals associated with your medical care. If you need additional support about any aspects of your care we invite you to contact the UAMS Patient Advocate.
What is a Patient Advocate?
An advocate is defined as a “supporter, believer, sponsor, promoter, campaigner, backer and spokesperson.” It is someone you trust who is willing to act on your behalf and someone who can work well with members of your health care team.
Hospital Patient Advocates are professionals who can assist you and your family, from talking about anxieties related to your visit, to answering questions, to helping you resolve problems. Advocates can help you connect with the people and professionals to provide information, address concerns or learn more about you or your loved ones condition. They also can help with understanding any hospital policies or procedures as well as navigating the hospital system.
Patient advocacy is vital to the way we create patient- and family-centered care at UAMS. The UAMS Patient Advocate can participate at your request, or at the request of your health care team to support communication, problem resolution and ensure that your input is part of any decision making regarding your care.
Role of the Patient Advocate
Being sick or in the hospital can be very stressful for patients and families. There are times when you may need someone other than your health care team to talk to. The Patient Advocate acts as a liaison, or bridge, between the patient and family and the health care team.
Once the Patient Advocate has been invited to participate, the focus is to improve communication, access information, address concerns and assist in resolving difficulties. The Patient Advocate can also:
- Provide information on UAMS policies and procedures
- Provide information concerning patient rights and responsibilities
- Receive compliments or suggestions about staff and service
- Provide connections to the appropriate resources for coordinating your care
- Facilitate family meetings between you and your treatment team
- Help with advance care planning and completion of advance directives
Inviting the Patient Advocate to be involved in your health care experience is not viewed as complaining or making waves. It’s viewed as an opportunity for us to provide support, education and assistance.
Contacting the Patient Advocate
You may want to contact the Patient Advocate when:
- You fear what you are saying is not being heard by the treatment team
- You are having difficulty understanding what the treatment team is telling you about your care
- You fear you may be too emotional to communicate your needs or concerns effectively
- You feel intimidated or fear you may not say what you need to or intend to
- You fear that you may be labeled as difficult
- You need more information about a hospital policy or procedure
- You don’t know who to ask for help
If you have questions, concerns about your care, or would like to provide compliments or additional feedback, please feel free to contact the UAMS Patient Advocate by asking your nurse or by calling 501-686-6369, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. After hours, weekends and holidays please call 501-296-1039 and leave a message for the Advocate.
The UAMS Patient Advocate serves as an advocate mediator, and resource. The Patient Advocate will listen to your feedback, help you navigate the steps towards resolution, and follow up with the appropriate team members, department managers and/or physician leaders. The goal is providing patient- and family-centered care as well as bring awareness to potential opportunities for improvement within the organization.