A warm blanket, a hot cup of coffee or a kind word are just some of the ways Indian River Medical Center’s Patient Advocates comfort those in the midst of a medical crisis.
Patient Advocates serve as liaisons between patients and clinical staff, assisting with nonmedical needs during a visit to the Emergency Department.
Recognizing the fear and uncertainty that can overwhelm patients and their loved ones during a health emergency, the IRMC Foundation Board created the Patient Advocate Program. Funded entirely through donations to the Foundation, the program started in 2005 with just two Patient Advocates and has grown to include nine specially-trained Advocates who are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The advocates assist with unexpected challenges such as finding a ride home, contacting relatives or arranging for someone to take care of a patient’s pet. The toughest moments in a Patient Advocate's day occur during a crisis.
"We're with families when a doctor breaks bad news," says Manager Aleta Peters. “We can really make a difference during difficult times.”
The advocates are praised by all —patients, families, nurses and physicians. An advocate once sat with a woman while her husband was treated, saying "I'm sorry I didn't meet you under different circumstances." The women replied, "But I needed you now."
If you would like to join in supporting the Patient Advocate program, please make a gift today.