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.

Seek a Second Opinion

Acquiring a second opinion can be important if the patient is not diagnosed correctly or they believe they are not receiving the proper treatment. Here are a few avenues a patient can take in order to receive the care they feel is needed:

  • Ask your current family doctor for a referral to a related specialist.
  • Switch your family doctors.
  • Contact any related non-profit organizations that may be able to direct you to the proper professionals such as the MS Society, Southern Alberta Brain Injury Society etc.
  • Contact a private clinic. Private clinics are available in the event a patient has exhausted their resources. There are fees associated, however, the doctors have the means to conduct tests and make referrals.