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Patient Advocates: Be a Friend in the Hospital

Patient Advocates: Be a Friend in the Hospital

Megan Malugani / Monster Contributing Writer

We all hope a stay in the hospital is uneventful and goes smoothly. However, things don’t always work that way. Trips to the emergency room, overnight stays and stints in long-term healthcare facilities are stressful for patients and their families.

Who can you turn to when you have a problem in a hospital? A patient advocate is often the answer. While patient advocates may also be known as patient ombudsmen or patient representatives, those who need them often refer to them simply as friends.

Helen Spicka, director of the patient advocate program at Community General Hospital in Harris, New York, is a pioneer in patient advocacy. “When I started doing this 20 years ago, there were very few hospitals with advocacy programs,” she says. “Now it’s a very popular program that most hospitals and other healthcare facilities have in place. They have found that it’s important to patients and the facilities.”

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