How do I Self-Advocate in Healthcare Part 1
Are you a mom feeling like she's not getting the health care she needs? Do you feel lost in how to get what’s best for your body and health today, as well as into the future? Self-advocating in healthcare can seem daunting but it doesn't have to be. In this blog post we explore actionable steps you can take to better understand, communicate and work with traditional medical practitioners--leading to healthier outcomes for you and your family!

1.  Know Your Rights
One of the most important things you can do when it comes to self-advocating in healthcare is to know your rights. Every patient has the right to receive quality healthcare, and you should never feel like you are being treated unfairly or receiving sub-par care. If you feel like your rights are not being respected, don't hesitate to speak up.  This is especially important when you prefer alternative treatments.  The mainstream way of doing things many times is at odds with natural ways of doing things.  You deserve respect even if and especially if you disagree with what you have been told is the "best" treatment.

2.  Be an Active Participant in Your Care
Another important thing to remember when self-advocating in healthcare is that you need to be an active participant in your own care. This means asking questions, doing research, and making sure that you understand ALL of the options available to you.  Not just the options given in a doctor's office. It's also important to communicate openly with your healthcare team and to make sure that they are aware of your preferences and needs.  You must be open with your communication so your preferences are known.  

3.  Advocate for Yourself and Others
When it comes to self-advocating in healthcare, it's not just about advocating for yourself—it's also about advocating for others. This includes speaking up if you witness someone else being treated unfairly or receiving sub-par care. It's also important to educate yourself and others about patients' rights so that everyone can be better informed and prepared to advocate for themselves in healthcare settings. As a mom, advocating for your children is top priority as they cannot advocate for themselves yet.  As they get older, talk with them and help them practice advocating for themselves so they will be confident once they reach the age when they will need to do it for themselves.

4.  Be Persistent
If at first you don't succeed in getting the healthcare you deserve, don't give up—be persistent. Remember that you have a right to quality care, and you should never settle for anything less. This can be a little time consuming, and involve a lot of phone calls and emails, but your persistence will pay off.  Many times, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease."  Don't give up!

5.  Know When to Seek Help
There are times when self-advocating in healthcare can be overwhelming, and it's important to know when to seek help from a professional. If you are dealing with a complex health issue or if you feel like you're not getting anywhere on your own, reach out to a patient advocate or other professional who can help you navigate the system and get the care you need.

By self-advocating in healthcare - you're being smart and proactive. The reality is that most medical professionals are incredibly busy and have set preferences, and it's important to be your own advocate when it comes to your health. By asking questions, getting second opinions, and doing your own research, you can make sure that you're getting the best possible care. So don't be afraid to speak up for yourself - your health is worth it! What do you do to advocate for yourself with medical professionals? Share your tips in the comments below!
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