Among the impressive folks I’ve “met” (sometimes only virtually) through my work as Every Patient’s Advocate is Jonathan Fine, MD, the co-founder of Bedside Advocates in Massachusetts.
His program is wonderfully impressive. Launched in Fall 2006, Bedside Advocates recruits skilled, retired health care professionals including doctors and nurses, to work with high risk patients and their families as they transition through the various health care facilities to get the help they need. The Bedside Advocates – all volunteers — help them ask the right questions, help coordinate their care, keep them as safe as possible, and translate med-speak to the patients and families. In short, they are guiding angels.
Currently Bedside Advocates are concentrating their work on the frail elderly. They hope to expand to all high risk patients. They received some seed money from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and exist on donations — of time and money.
All I can say is — FANTASTIC!! Not only is the program a huge benefit for families with elderly members needing care, it can be a great model for other programs in other places that want to help their elderly citizens, too. Even the Boston Globe is impressed.
I know of no other similar programs anywhere. (If you know of one, please let me know!) I laud Dr. Fine for his creativity, his compassion, and putting his energy into solving the conundrum of care for these patients who seem always to be caught between the personal rock and the healthcare hard place.
If you live in the Boston area, I urge you to get involved! Donations or both money and time are needed. Even if you aren’t a skilled, retired health care provider, why not help make phone calls or provide administrative assistance? Contact information is available on the Bedside Advocates website.
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