Laura had been in and out of hospital for 7 months with several major problems. But it took 7 months for her to be referred to a cardiologist. The swelling of her legs and shortness of breath were the symptoms that triggered the referral to cardiology.

When cardiology saw Laura, it was evident that she was in trouble. An immediate cardiac echo showed her to have very severe valvular heart disease. And she was in right heart failure.

She was immediately considered for cardiac surgery. However the doctors managing her care were not communicating with the patient and the family.

In fact, the doctors had failed to communicate effectively over the several months of the patient’s hospitalization. This lead to a failed and somewhat contentious relationship with the family.

Our job as patient advocates was to immediately talk to the treating doctors and then brief the family about the plans for cardiac surgery.

Our job as advocates was to understand the plan for cardiac surgery and to understand how Laura would be transitioned to the cardiac surgeon.

The patient advocate has to understand how the plumbing works in the complex web of healthcare relationships.

By talking to the treating doctors in a collaborative manner and then translating for the family, our team at RCM Health Consultancy was able to fully inform the family, reassure the treating doctors, to assist with the transition to cardiac surgery and then provide monitoring and quality control once the transition had occurred.

So a key role of the patient advocate is to communicate often with clients to keep them totally informed and up to date with issues and information.

To find your patient advocate, you should email RCM:

or call 647 350 5500

Raymond Rupert patient advocate and healthcare consultant.