When your sick who is your voice?

No one wants to be sick. But have you thought about who would be your voice when you're sick and don't have a voice?

You need to think about that. Entering the hospital without a voice is a problem. Too many questions, too many people with no one person in charge.

Who should be in charge! That's simple YOU. But what if you can't be? Who would that person be.

There are the five things you need to think about and implement.


Develop a document called Health Care Agent Assignment. It's better if you can speak to a professional about what this agent can and cannot do on your behalf. An attorney; some of them are good with this conversation. Your doctor would be better. Here is information on Health Care Agent assignment. 

2. What do you need to have when you arrive at the hospital besides "Your Voice"?

*Insurance Information

*Medication List

*Medical History & Surgical History

*Contact information

3. What is the most important piece of information that is needed when you arrive?

Your Story; that is correct an accurate description of why you are there. How long has the issue been going on. Did you have any follow up with anyone prior to coming and what tests/labs did they perhaps perform? All needed for the staff to assess your present situation.

4. Who is in charge? Who is in charge of your care while you are there? Their names. You want names. Names of physicians and providers who took care of you in the emergency department and names of physicians and providers who took care of you when you were admitted, if you get admitted.

5. Copies of your information. Now this will be a struggle as hospitals will argue that you cannot have copies of anything! Even though it is your information. They will bring up HIPAA. Keep in mind HIPAA is there to protect you from others getting information that shouldn't have your information. NOT to protect YOU from your information. Insist that you get a copy before you leave of the notes; the labs and the test results to have with you and be able to follow up with your providers in the community.

The best thing is to stay healthy and stay away from hospitalization. But if you need to be there you need to have a voice. If it's not your voice who will it be??


Ask An Advocate is an ongoing educational service provided by PAFY, Inc.

Sharon Gauthier RN/MSN/CGM