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There are many approaches to advocacy, but the basic premise is derived from being patient and family-centric.
  • Recognize and honor the values and priorities of the patient when making decisions.
  • Help the individual build the capacity to advocate for them.
  • Individual approach: each person's experience and healing path is distinct.
  • As individuals and patients, we are not always "right."
  • Be an effective listener. Open to hear what is not spoken.
  • Patients are part of a team, and preferably, they can become the "captain" of their team.
Core Skills for Advocates (In Alphabetical Order)

Asset-based, Creative Problem Solving – Analyzing an existing or potential problem by incorporating values, anticipating challenges, thinking creatively and reflecting on one’s approach. Identify and discover the strength and potential of individuals and communities.

Assessment – A process of listening, asking questions, asking for clarification, asking additional questions, observing, and listening again with the purpose of gathering information so you can best advocate with and empower your client.

Building Capacity/ Empowerment – Helping someone develop skills and abilities to advocate for themselves or a loved one, to gain insight and information in order to make informed medical decisions, anticipate and manage the financial and work life implications of illness, and find the support and resources necessary to cope and live life under a "new normal."

Confidentiality – Respecting the integrity of information shared by clients. Sharing it with no one the client does not explicitly authorize you to share it with.

Cultural Competency – Openness and skills to understand and value distinct beliefs, practices, communication methods, perspectives and approaches to life, regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, or language proficiency.

Decision Making – A process of identifying options, sorting and framing, and empowering people to make decisions consistent with their values.

Collaboration – Working with others to provide more comprehensive advocacy and problem-solving support.

Case Management – Keeping files and recording case information to facilitate efficient, effective, organized advocacy. Communicating in timely, appropriate ways to improve someone’s ability to affect advocacy outcomes.

Empathy – Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives.

Ethics – Communicating and acting in concert with a collective understanding of “right living” in the following areas:
  • Trustworthiness (truthfulness, sincerity, candor, loyalty, promise keeping, honesty)
  • Respect (autonomy, courtesy)
  • Responsibility (diligence, continuous improvement, self-restraint)
  • Justice (fairness, impartiality, equity)
  • Caring (kindness, compassion)
Listening & Communicating – Paying attention to an individual, watch their body language, and identify what they are not saying aloud. Interacting with clients and being effective communicators, including specific skills of opening moments and active listening.

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