• Printer Friendly Version

Advocating for Every Patient

CalvertHealth’s Patient Advocates Provide a Listening Ear, Advocacy and Problem-Solving

Much like a ‘wingman” who helps, protects, guides and watches your back, the patient advocates at CalvertHealth Medical Center (CHMC) are focused on ensuring a quality patient experience – from finding solutions to special concerns to getting answers about the care you receive – so your stay is safe, comfortable and effective.

“Our goal is to make sure every patient knows we care and we are there for them, we are listening to them and acknowledge them,” said Liz Chandlee, a patient advocate at CHMC.

Each day, Chandlee and her team visits with any new patients who have been admitted to the medical center to see if there is anything the patient needs. If so, it may mean contacting the care team in order to help the patient better understand why a decision was made and/or mediating conversations when necessary. The patient advocates also share any perceived negative experiences with the care team and help to resolve any challenges and lay the foundation for better interactions in the future.

Although much of their job involves resolving clinical and communication issues, the advocate’s commitment to patient care encompasses everything from making sure patients are comfortable to impromptu wedding planning. Sometimes family members opt to get married on site to ensure that a terminally ill patient is able to be present for the special day. Chandlee and her team jump into action to be sure the occasion is memorable for all involved. “Liz is always happy, positive and willing to do whatever is needed for her patients and their families,” said Director of Patient Experience and Guest Services Susan Stevens.

Chandlee acknowledges the perceived negative experiences patients have are sometimes valid, and often unintentional. The added stressors of the last two years have made things challenging for patients and providers alike.

“We are all human and everyone brings different experiences from their outside life when they walk through these doors,” she said.

“We are constantly striving to always exceed expectations.”
– Liz Chandlee,
CHMC Patient Advocate

Guest services volunteers also visit patients to provide them with items such as puzzles and Chapstick® and information about the patient advocate services. Often, they identify issues and alert Chandlee, as do nurses and doctors. Additionally, the patient advocates receive phone calls, emails and letters from patients throughout the healthcare system.

Patient advocates do a lot of communication coaching and mediation and said care teams are very receptive when concerns are brought to them. Their role is to help the staff and the patients. If the patients are happy and satisfied, they know they have someone on their side. Chandlee said she has a unique role without any clinical tasks, allowing her more time to sit and listen to patients and their families, which in turn enhances the patient/staff relationship.

Patient advocates try to resolve patient concerns in the moment. For those issues they cannot address, there are processes in place to circle back to ensure every concern is addressed. From changing a practice to provide a better patient experience, to fixing an information technology issue, or fostering a mindset change among the staff, “It doesn’t matter what the issue is, we have a process so it’s definitely addressed,” Chandlee said.

Once appropriate actions are taken, the patient receives follow-up communication. Depending on the confidentiality of the situation, the communication may omit details, but the intent is to let the patient know their concern was heard and addressed; sometimes with a change in process.

“Your feedback is invaluable as it allows us to assess the patient experience and gives us the opportunity to make improvements. We are constantly striving to always exceed expectations.”
back to top button