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People ask me all the time how professional patient advocacy is different than care management and for me, the answer is on several levels. As a board certifiued professioanl RN patient advocate, most of the time what I do is very similar to what Aging Life Care (geriatric care managers) members do. The difference comes in two areas. First, we focus on prevention of medical error through passionately asking the right questions, protecting our clients at our own expense at times.. The AMA said this past year that every American needs a patient advocate, wether it is a family member, a professional care manager or a professional patient advocate. My company, NShore Patient Advocates is made up of experienced, adavanced lever RN's who understand the complexities of the US healthcare sustem. We do almost the same thing that community care managers do, with the exception of being on call 24/7 for our clients and being able to handle ANY level of medical complexity. Many of our nurses are former ICU nurses. We can walk into an ICU and be completely comfortable with asking the right questioins, interpreting lab values, understanding weaning protocols from the ventilator, treating septic shock and what all the vent settings mean and what standard protocols are for treating complex patients with fragile comorbitities. 90% of what we do, social workers can do, but when it is a life/death situation, I do believe taht RN's can see things that social workers do not because of our  years at the bedside. Social workers and RN's have the same heart for people and both can do care plan meetings and talk to doctors and help hospital care managers with transitions and vet facilities and provide quality referrals. The difference in the field of patient advocacy comes in navigating the hospital system and understanding patient rights, legala nd ethical issues that are common. Clinically trained care mangers like RN's, MD's and social workers understand where the skeletons are hidden in the hospital. How does one find the actual best physicians? What language does one use when sweet-talking intesivists into doing the just and ethical thing? Who to go to when things go wrong. Advocates stand in the gap and put our necks on the line to protect our patients, like I did six years ago when I saw medical negligence occuring and stood up to a physician who was ignoring alarming near death experiences of my patient. When I almost got fired for advocating for my patient, I realized that healthcare had changed drastically. It is no longer safe for hospital staff to strongly advocate for a patient. You risk getting fired and let's face it, if a hospital wants to let you go, they WILL find a reason. I love being a professioanl, board vcertified patient advocate. I love social workers and other healthcare providers who work so hard to keep patients safe.My allegience is only to my patient and they pay me well for helping them navigate the system, though not so much higher than GCM's. Healthcare today is complex. dangerous and frightening. I am proud to be a member of the Aging Life Care Association. May we all help each other keep the patient at the center of the model of US healthcare. There is more than enough work to go around with the growing numbers of senior orphans and the high rates of medical error in the US. We are in quite a pickle in America and all of us need to support one another. No competition, only collaboration. Our clients need our best efforts.