Self Advocacy Tips

The health care system can be overwhelming, intimidating and difficult to navigate. In order to receive the best health care possible, self-advocacy is an important and necessary quality to master. All patients have a right to feel confident and comfortable in the care that they are receiving. One of the most important qualities in self-advocacy is persistence. If you do not feel that you have been given the proper treatment, you have a right to speak up and express your feelings. It is important to be persistent without being disrespectful, aggressive or demeaning. Respectful persistence will pay off!

Patient issues within the health system can vary widely such as an inability to access a family physician, lack of accessibility to specialists, a misdiagnosis, a botched surgery, a person being undiagnosed and even death.

Below are some tips that may help a patient advocate for themselves.

Change Physicians

In the event you feel your doctor is unable to resolve the medical issues you are experiencing, it may be necessary to change physicians. Sometimes a new perspective from an alternative professional can help greatly. If you believe that is required, a list of physicians accepting new patients can be found at the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta at  An alternate avenue to finding a new physician can be through a family member. Typically a doctor will accept a new patient if that patient is within the same family.  Ask your family member to contact their doctor and see if they would be willing to accept you as a patient.