I became a professional patient advocate for the reason many others do, negative experiences within the healthcare system.
I helped my grandmother navigate the healthcare system from her age of 84 until her death at age 98. During those 14 years of medical appointments and hospitalizations where I rarely left her side, I saw communication gaps, mistreatment, and errors that convinced me no one should navigate their healthcare alone.
I also helped a loved one with serious mental illness stay alive in the healthcare system. Talk to any family member of a person with serious mental illness, and they will likely mention the trauma both they and their loved one experienced while trying to get help. I went through this with a loved one for 15 years, including her 10 years in nursing homes, until a tragic series of events -- medical misjudgment, errors, negligence, and staffing shortages -- resulted in her death. She had been unconscious for almost three days before anyone told me she was; by then I couldn't get to her in time. I was deprived of the opportunity to be by her side when she died.
In my experience, effective communication in healthcare is vital to patient safety and health outcomes. I work to optimize the quality and clarity of healthcare communications between patients and providers; to help clients strive for the best care outcomes and quality of life; and to support terminally ill clients on hospice to have peaceful, pain-free deaths with dignity.