By Jina Taub
Have you ever left your doctor’s office not sure of what steps to take next? Ever felt your concerns were not heard by medical professionals? Or maybe you could just use a helping hand with making appointments and navigating the health system?
The Village is piloting a new volunteer health advocate (VHA) program for all Village members. Members responded to the 2015 Village survey expressing interest in receiving assistance with medical or health issues which have not historically been offered by the Village. The Village board and staff took this information to heart and have worked hard to create a volunteer health advocate program, and are hopeful that it will be a valued service for members and volunteers alike.
What is a health advocate?
A health advocate is someone who provides support and assistance for a person in navigating and understanding the health care system in order to meet their health care needs.
Who is a Village health advocate?
VHAs are Village volunteers who have completed several hours of health advocacy training, through the Washington State Health Advocacy Association (WASHAA) are are dedicated to helping members with health and medical needs. VHAs do not necessarily have a medical background, nor are they medical professionals. To date, we have seven volunteers who have completed the training.
What does a Village health advocate do?
Some activities a VHA can do include:
• Attending medical appointments and taking notes
• Helping to make medical appointments
• Helping to organize personal medical information
• Supporting you in your health care goals and needs
What doesn’t a Village health advocate do?
• Does not give medications
• Does not perform any medical procedures
• Does not give any medical advice
How can I request a Village health advocate?
If you are interested in learning more about the VHA program, or requesting services, please contact Jina, Alex, or Rebecca in the Village office by phone (206.789.1217) or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your interest in this program. I hope to together we continue develop a volunteer health advocate program that is beneficial and meaningful to members in our community.
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Author Jina Taub is a PNA Village volunteer and registered nurse (RN). Jina is the volunteer program manager for the Village health advocate program. Seven Village volunteers recently completed the program’s first volunteer training session.