Independent Patient Support and Advocacy [Interview][Transcript]

Dorothy_Kamaker_Patient_Advocates_AustraliaGuest: Dorothy Kamaker
Presenter: Henry Acosta
Guest Bio: Dorothy Kamaker spent 35 years plus an an ICU/ER nurse and academic. Increasingly, she saw patients and their families struggle with their predicaments in the healthcare system. In 2013 Dorothy qualified as an independent patient advocate and set up business in Sydney. In 2014 she acquired a partner to broaden the scope of their practice and share the growing case load. They have the background and skills to support patients in the general, mental health, disability and aged care systems.

These advocates support patients in multiple ways: with basic navigation through the system, by attending medical appointments and taking notes, by translating and explaining medical advice and treatments and by acting as a communication hub between family members, healthcare providers and patients. Occasionally they are required to address problems with standards of care. Increasingly they are asked to source aged care support at home or in a residential facility and are often engaged to monitor that care on an ongoing basis. Patient Advocates Australia are increasingly involved with supporting patients whose family is distant and who seek the reassurance of expert, independent feedback and supervision.

Segment overview: In today’s segment, we are joined by the Founder of Patient Advocates Australia Dorothy Kamaker to shed light on the work that they do. According to Dorothy, health care has become so complex, fragmented and overwhelming that many patients struggle to achieve optimum health outcomes. She says that the time of greatest need for people with an illness or for the aged is usually the time of their least ability to cope. Dorothy’s work is largely in supporting clients and their families cope with illness and with the complex health system. She helps patients understand their illness and treatment options, assists them to make informed decisions, provides written reports of medical meetings, finds specialists, sources second opinions and monitors hospital care. Her role is to demystify the language and culture of the health system and provide her clients with a confident voice. Patient Advocates Australia collaborates to ensure that there is good communication between patients, providers and family members.


Health Professional Radio – Patient Advocates Australia

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