The Arizona Daily Star reports that patient advocacy - providing a knowledgeable, assertive advocate for a hospital or emergency room patient - is a growing business. According to a health care ratings group HealthGrades, more than 188,000 patients died between 2004 and 2006 because hospital staff did not notice or respond to patients' fatal but preventable complications.
A patient advocate, whether a friend, relative or professional, can monitor and review medication orders and dosages, verify medical history and facilitate communication between hospital staff and a patient's primary care physician or other specialists outside of the hospital.
There are a number of paid patient advocates with a wide range of charges and services. Because of the risk of fraud, especially preying on elderly patients, be sure to verify the credentials of any prospective patient advocate.