An 'advocate' is someone who supports a patient and helps to ensure their wishes are respected. An advocate is usually a friend or family member, although some hospitals do have professional patient advocates.
There are a few benefits of having someone to advocate for you at medical appointments. Your advocate can:
- Help you plan for an appointment by writing a list of questions you would like to ask, or a script for part of the conversation you are nervous about
- Attend the appointment with you, and help you talk about aspects of your condition that you find upsetting or embarrassing
- Prevent you from being (however unintentionally) steam-rolled by a over-confident or overly-busy health professional
- Provide emotional support if you are asked upsetting questions or required to undergo procedures you find distressing
If you would like to advocate for a loved one, here is a good resource from the American Urogynecologic Society about how to do so effectively: Tips for being a Health Advocate.