Being an advocate is an honor and an important job. Learn more about being an effective patient advocate, should you be asked to speak on someone else’s behalf.

A Patient Advocate (also known as a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care) is often mistaken for a similar term - Durable Power of Attorney. A Durable Power of Attorney is responsible for your belongings and finances if you should not be able to speak for yourself, while a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (DPOAH), or patient advocate, makes decisions about your medical care on your behalf.

To be an effective patient advocate it is essential to take the time to have meaningful conversations with the person for whom you are an advocate what their preferences are for healthcare. If you are in a situation where you have to speak on their behalf you will be asked to share what the person would want, not what you think they would want. You must also be able to advocate for the person's healthcare decisions even though you may not personally agree with those decisions.

Finally, to become a patient advocate you must accept the role in writing.