Reclaiming Your Care: A Patient’s Handbook for Medical Navigation
By Bridges To Patient Empowerment
The Center for Disease Control reports that one hundred and thirty-three million people have at least one chronic health condition––just shy of one out of every two people. As people with chronic illness are living longer than ever, we will need more resources allocated to managing and coordinating patients needs and potential complications, as these conditions account for 70% of all deaths in the United States. For these people, survival will depend on their personal health-management skills.
Reclaiming Your Care: A patient’s Handbook for Medical Navigation shows these people how to get the best care medicine can offer, regardless of their insurance status or the complexity of their medical condition. In our current climate of expanding medical costs and reduced budgets for healthcare, there is no better time for the fresh insights and proven methods that are held within Reclaiming Your Care. This book offers solutions that will drive down healthcare costs while improving care quality. It will teach those who suffer from chronic, complex, or terminal illnesses how to navigate the U.S. medical system without becoming a victim of it, distrusting it, or sacrificing quality of care due to inefficient protocols or policies within the system. It shows patients how to find a middle ground and create a foundation of medical support, so when a health crisis hits, they will maintain their rights and their dignity while getting the care they deserve.
No other book on the market today offers such in-depth, sympathetic, and invaluable information for patients facing a complex or chronic illness. Reclaiming Your Care helps to teach patients how to reclaim their power and survive a health crisis using methods that don’t just work in theory, but in practice too. It provides groundbreaking material for patients to manage their own care-communication without an advocate or even having to speak, increasing their chances of coming out of the medical system alive and well. It will also give patients the tools they need to relay the information that easily conveys the complete picture of a patient. It also helps patients to work with their heath care providers to create an individualized care plan that meets a patient’s values, beliefs, and medical needs best. This will ensure that no-matter which doctor is treating a patient, he or she will know how to get the patient the best care possible.
The key to being a medically successful complex patient (a patient that has multiple conditions or body systems affected), or any patient with a medical problem is to have realistic expectations of what you can and can’t do in different medical situations, and then knowing how to work within these limits to get the best care possible. One way patients can help is to understand what information is applicable and essential for medical care providers to know in a crisis, and to have the needed tools to reclaim their care enough to make sure they get the care they deserve.
- Knowing how to communicate to medical providers.
- Having the tools to asses the validity of a diagnosis in times that a patient can’t get a second opinion.
- Having an individualized care plan that supports a patient’s beliefs, values, and medical needs best.
- Knowing how to recruit the right medical professional for the different tasks involved in one’s treatment.
- Knowing how to best manage complex medical problems.
- Knowing how best to work with your doctor to get the care you deserve.
- Knowing how to communicate history and needs effectively without needing an advocate, or even to talk.
- Understanding the factions within the U.S. medical system, and how each one affects care.
- Evaluating treatment options (both allopathic and complimentary).
- Being a survivor instead of a victim of the medical system and one’s illness.
So often in medicine the patient’s voice is lost in medical treatments. Patients often accept the treatment the doctor recommends without ever having a conversation about whether it is really the best one for a patient’s individual medical needs, beliefs, and values. Doctors are often scared of recommending treatments that they are less familiar with because of the perceived liability risk; instead, giving patients a one-size fits all treatment plan. Healthcare in our nation is moving towards standardized medical practices to prevent extreme negligent care in favor for average care. The problem with this is that exceptional care is vastly becoming non-existent in our nation. The reality of this situation is explained in detail so that patients discover that in order to get exceptional care in the US medical system, they will have to navigate care choices themselves; this book will show them how. Reclaiming Your Care will educate patients about what means to use to discover what treatments might help them, and to asses it’s validity and compatibility to their lifestyle choices. It also helps them know how to talk to their doctor about their treatment choices in a way that relieves a doctor of liability fears, as well as how to get doctor buy-in for less common treatments; even when some of the treatments picked are ones that scare doctors away due to lack of knowledge about them, and liability issues. The July/August issue of women’s Health Magazine featured an article “Survive your Doctor” that stated that approximately 49 million Americans see a doctor for a problem that still goes unaddressed. For patients that read this book, this will no longer be the case. For patients that are complex or chronically ill, diagnosis can be a long and tedious process. The Institute of medicine reports that medical mistakes are the eighth leading cause of death in the US. Research indicates that misdiagnosis could be as high as 47%. _
Reclaiming Your Care will help patients to understand the limits and reality of what a diagnosis actually is and what it means for a patient, and how to asses it’s validity. It also will help patients understand the best way to work with their doctor to get an accurate diagnosis by the questions they ask, information they give, and the understanding that ultimately diagnosis is an art-form.
With medical advancements, end of life care choices are becoming more complex and numerous. As a result, state laws are quickly changing to expand on end of life rights and forms in order to help practitioners determine what care to give a patient. This means that patients will have to become more informed about these choices and what they really mean to determine their personal end of life preferences.
Further, Reclaiming Your Care goes beyond being a patient empowerment book, it gives patients a program, using a series of questions and mental exercises, that help patients not only reclaim their healthcare, but all the other aspects of their life as well. Unfortunately, chronic illness does not just affect a patient physically; it affects a patient’s social, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial well-being. Reclaiming Your Care gives patients the tools to reclaim all of if these aspects of their life, and find a way to work within their personal circumstances to have the best life possible. Reclaiming Your Care offers fresh insights and proven methods that will allow those who suffer from chronic, complex, or terminal illnesses to accept that although chronic illness causes some imbalance in all aspects of one’s life, a new balance can be found.
Written by a life-long patient that has been managing her own medically complex condition for over twenty years. As a patient, she has experienced the inner workings of hospitals by being in them for long periods of time throughout her life since she was a child. As such, she has developed a deep understanding of the health care system and the needs of the patients they serve. Through her experience of learning to survive the medical system as a complex patient, she has invented practices that help patients with chronic illness by developing efficient communication and healthcare facilitation strategies. She shares her insights by writing, teaching, and consulting with others. With an educational background in writing, medical ethics, crisis counseling, nutrition, and hypnotherapy, she has conducted several lectures for medical professionals, patients, and the general public. As an ethics committee member and patient advocate, she chaired a subcommittee on improving complex patient care. Her experience has given her the ability to learn the different roles, politics, and road-blocks that exist in and between the different parties in the healthcare relationship, and has worked with premier doctors and health care professionals to bring the tools in Reclaiming Your Care into fruition.
 Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Chronic Disease and Health Prevention,”13 August 2012, www. Cdc.gov/chronic disease/overview/index.htm.
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