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Rhonda - Remote and Distressed

Meet Rhonda

Rhonda is a 65-year-old woman who has a complex and misunderstood illness. She lives in a remote area and has limited access to resources. Rhonda is retired and spends much of her time at home. Her support system consists of her husband, grown children, grandchildren and a few close friends.

Rhonda has little energy to research  her illness, find resources or leave her home to attend appointments. She has had a hard time getting the answers and treatment she needs. She doesn’t know what questions to ask or to whom and often feels unheard and misunderstood. Her family is unable to help her as they don’t know what questions to ask or where to turn for answers.

Rhonda fears her health is declining significantly. Because she lives in a remote area, Rhonda does not have access to many resources. She needs someone to help her get the care she needs. 

How We Got Involved

Rhonda’s daughter did a google search and came across Canadian Health Advocates Inc. (CHAI). The website showed that they offer Virtual Health Advocacy and she knew this would be perfect for her mom.

Rhonda and her Virtual Health Advocate communicate by phone, email, video or text on a regular basis. Her Advocate attends all medical appointments via speaker phone. Rhonda feels supported and less fearful and has learned the right questions to ask to get what she needs.

What We Did and Where

Rhonda’s CHAI Virtual Advocate is a regular member of her healthcare team.  She is getting the answers and care that she needs. Her Advocate is the consistent and health puzzle piece that was missing.

Rhonda achieved the following by working with a CHAI Virtual Health Advocate:

  • Felt emotionally supported
  • Felt like she had ‘someone right there with me’
  • Doesn’t have to leave the house to get help and talk to someone
  • Less time and energy spent travelling- communicated via phone, text, email or video.
  • Felt informed and empowered
  • Better understood the medical terms used
  • Felt prepared to have effective conversations with her medical team
  • No longer felt so overwhelmed and afraid

Find out how a CHAI Health Advocate can help YOU.

Dr. Trevor, MD - Overstretched Doctor

Dr. Trevor achieved the following by working with a CHAI Health Advocate:

  • Reduced stress
  • More time with his patients
  • Patients that were informed, prepared and empowered
  • Reassurance that his patients were receiving the best possible care
  • Improved communication with other medical professionals
  • Patients that felt supported and heard
  • Increased continuity of care
  • Improved communication with his patients
  • Felt less overstretched

Over the years, Dr. Trevor, a licensed medical doctor with a 15-year practice, has prided himself in providing his patients with ample time and attention. It is what has made his practice so successful. While his practice is growing and flourishing, his time has become increasingly limited. Dr. Trevor finds himself frustrated with the amount of time he has to spend working at a desk instead of seeing patients firsthand. His time and resources are overstretched and he really needs to be spending more time focusing on his patients and their medical issues.

A time-consuming aspect of Dr.Trevor’s job is helping his patients complete complicated medical forms. He finds it frustrating how the proper wording and every single detail must be just right to ensure the disability case or other medical need is met properly. It takes far too many hours to complete CPP Disability and Medical El forms. Yet, he knows just how valuable these are to his patients.

Dr. Trevor also wishes he had more available time to:

  • listen to his patients’ concerns and questions
  • decipher complicated medical jargon for his patients
  • to offer emotional support following a difficult diagnosis or prognosis
  • sit with his patients while they fill out complicated paperwork such as CPP Disability forms

Unfortunately, with the way he is being pulled in so many directions, these things are not always possible. He needs help. He wants his patients to receive the best possible care.

He saw an ad for Canadian Health Advocates Inc. in the local newspaper and decided to reach out to them. He explored their website and decided they could help. Health Advocates could bridge some of the gaps that he was feeling and spend the extra time with his patients that he could not.

Dr. Trevor has also experienced CHAI helping some of his patients by spending time and supporting them in understanding their medical diagnosis/ prognosis, listening and encouraging them, and attending specialist appointments with them.  

This alleviates some of the stress Dr.Trevor has. Now, he has the time to sit down and chat with his patient to learn about their lives, and, most importantly, to provide them with an accurate diagnosis and the highest level of care.

Dr. Trevor recommends CHAI to many of his patients and colleagues as he sees this service as being invaluable. He knows his patients are getting the highest level of service and attention, and he is now able to give them the one-on-one time they deserve.

Find out how a CHAI Health Advocate can help YOU.

Albert - Alone and Planning Ahead

Albert achieved the following by working with a CHAI Health Advocate:

  • Completed his Advance Care Planning documents
  • Comfort in having a second set of eyes and ears attend medical appointments with him
  • Was informed and empowered
  • Felt supported, important and heard
  • Experienced highly effective conversations with his medical team
  • No longer felt alone

Albert is 61 and alone. What if he became sick or injured and unable to make his wishes known to his medical team?

He is a professional that never married and is the sole survivor in his family. Albert has few people he can count on to manage his day-to day life needs or to make big decisions if he was to become unable to do so for himself.

He has done what he can. He put in place a Will and a Power of Attorney, but that’s about it. Though he is currently healthy, he knows he’s getting older. He does not like going to the doctor on his own but doesn’t have anyone he feels close enough to go with him.

Albert read about an Advanced Care Planning workshop being held locally. He decided to attend and learned about Canadian Health Advocates Inc. He is now allowing a CHAI Health Advocate to help him complete the Health and Personal Care aspects of his Advance Care Plan. Albert wants to make sure he has someone in place to make decisions for him if he is unable and to ensure his wishes are met.

He is comforted in knowing that he has taken steps to prepare for a sudden life event.

Albert’s CHAI Advocate has become his extra set of eyes and ears in the system. She attends medical appointments with him, coaches him before and debriefs after. His chance of retaining more information has increased because of this and he also has a support person with him.  

Albert decided to work with CHAI Health Advocates because he values independence and doesn’t want anyone else to make decisions for him. Now, with Advanced Care Planning and the supportive services of CHAI Health Advocates, his wishes are known. He also values being informed and empowered. His Advocate attending appointments helps ensure there are few information gaps or misunderstandings and that he has someone in his corner.

Find out how a CHAI Health Advocate can help YOU.

Monica - Tired Caregiver

Monica achieved the following by working with a CHAI Health Advocate:

  • Received access to resources and support for herself and her mom
  • More time with her mom as a daughter
  • Comfort in knowing there was improved communication between medical providers
  • Improved communication between herself and the healthcare team
  • Found alternate solutions for interim care for her mom while waiting for long term placement in residential care
  • Felt emotionally supported
  • Comfort in having a second set of eyes and ears attend medical appointments with her mom
  • Received help with End of Life Planning for her mom
  • No longer felt so tired and overwhelmed

Monica is the primary caregiver for her mother, Grace. Monica is her only daughter, is not married, and has few other available resources to help with her mom’s care. As a result, it falls on her shoulders to manage her mother’s dementia. Monica has been caring for her mother for two years.  When Grace’s condition worsened, it was impossible for her to live on her own. This forced Monica to leave both her job and her home so she could move in with her mother in order to provide the support she needed.

A key concern for Monica is her mother’s worsening condition and increased reliance on her. Though Monica hopes to put her mother into a residential care facility, the waiting list is six months or longer. Grace is not eating well, wandering off, and leaving the stove element on. Monica knows she is her mother’s only option for staying safe. As a result of all this responsibility, Monica feels tired and overwhelmed.

While she wants to be there for her mother, Monica knows she cannot do it all and needs help. She wants to be present as a daughter and at this rate, she will burn out and not be available in any capacity. She saw a social media post talking about caring for your ageing parent and Canadian Health Advocates Inc. was mentioned in the post. She called CHAI and set up an initial assessment with one of the Health Advocates.

She had an initial consultation with a CHAI Advocate and together they identified her most pressing current needs:

  • resources and support for her family
  • improved communication between all of her mom’s care providers
  • alternate solutions for care while her mom waits for long term placement in residential care

All of this has taken some of the burdens off Monica’s shoulders and has allowed her to spend time with her mom as her daughter.

Monica also used her CHAI Health Advocate for help with End-of-Life Planning for Grace. The thought has weighed heavily on Monica’s mind for a while, but without any help or support, Monica didn’t know where to start. Her Advocate provided the information and guidance.

Monica needed to ensure her mother would receive the care necessary and was able to ensure her mother’s wishes would be carried out after her death. As a result, Monica has been able to have more time to improve her own emotional wellbeing.

Find out how a CHAI Health Advocate can help YOU.

Samantha: Diagnosed - Overwhelmed - Afraid

Samantha achieved the following by working with a CHAI Health Advocate:

  • Felt emotionally supported
  • Access to resources for her family (financial, child care, home care, home maintenance, counselling)
  • Felt informed and empowered
  • Better understood the medical jargon and terms used
  • Felt prepared to have effective conversations with her medical team
  • Comfort in having a second set of eyes and ears attend medical appointments with him
  • Completed her Advance Care Planning documents
  • No longer felt so overwhelmed and afraid

Samantha is a wife and a mother of 3. She walked into a doctor’s office one day and learned she had breast cancer. Hearing those words caused her to block out anything else her doctor said. She left the doctor’s office terrified and unsure of what would happen next. She couldn’t remember everything her doctor said, nor could she get any help to resolve the way she was feeling.

She knew from that first meeting that she would be missing a lot of work for the surgery to remove her breast and for ongoing treatments in the year to follow. As a janitor at the local high school, she had no clue if there was any type of medical leave support available to her and no idea where to find it. What’s worse, she didn’t know what would happen to her family since they relied on her income. That’s when she knew she needed help.

Samantha just received a terrifying diagnosis and needed someone to reach out to for information and to provide her with step-by-step support in navigating this new world she was facing.

She called her girlfriend who had recently seen a business card on the bulletin board at the local hospital for Canadian Health Advocates Inc. She retrieved the number and contacted CHAI.

Samantha was quickly matched with a Health Advocate. The first thing they did was attend a medical appointment with Samantha and helped decipher the language, understand her diagnosis and review what the doctor had discussed about treatment options.

Her CHAI Health Advocate then did some research and coached her on how to access financial resources through her work. Her Advocate also provided emotional support and helped her set up ongoing counselling for her and her family.

They worked together to plan ahead for the year to come with regards to childcare, people to help with cooking and cleaning if Samantha was too sick from her chemo or following surgery.

Samantha cannot imagine having gone through this experience without a Health Advocate. She had someone to explain what the next year could potentially be like, help her brainstorm resources, attend medical appointments with her and provide strong emotional support. She did not have to face it alone or leave her family in a bind thanks to working with her CHAI Health Advocate.

Find out how a CHAI Health Advocate can help YOU.

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