Active Advocates and the Power of a Proxy

For this week’s take on our active advocates, we follow NShore Chief Advocate and CEO, Teri Dreher

If you know Teri, you know she’s in this business because she cares. That’s why when a client with no or little family around is in trouble, she’s happy to show up on their behalf. So was the case last week when one of her longest standing clients needed help. Here’s how she tells it:

I recently got a phone call as I was settling into my chair for the evening, PJ’s in place and zero emails in my inbox. The call came from the ER. My client had been found unconscious in her assisted living facility. They told me her blood sugar level was at 34 (potential for brain damage). Luckily I live close by and was able to get there within ten minutes. Right away I approached the staff working on her and was able to hand them a medical profile. Medical profiles are an extremely important aspect of patient advocacy. They describe a person’s past medical history, hospitalizations, living situation, medication list, and more.

On the way to the hospital, my poor client endured quite the ambulance ride. Due to the winter weather, her heart rate and temperature had dropped to dangerously low levels. She was stabilized and admitted to closely monitor her vital signs, heart rhythm and blood sugar. I called her sister, told her the whole story and relayed medical and personal information. She was so relieved and thankful for my serving as her “proxy” and secondary POA. She lives over 1000 miles away and would not have been able to get there for days. Not having family around during a health crisis can be terrifying. I was happy to be there as her advocate and to offer emotional support as someone who knows her well.

The power of a proxy

The next day we arranged for friends to help transport our client home. As they say, it takes a village. I texted them to make sure discharge orders were correct and that my client was feeling alright.  Having a nurse advocate on hand for emergencies is always a good idea, especially for those with family members who are widely separated or even estranged.

Her sister is not alone in needing a service for our dear client. More and more seniors are aging alone and disabled without family close by. In this case, our client was not even a senior but an adult with multiple disabilities and brittle diabetes that has almost resulted in death 5 times in the past year. I’m truly happy to be her advocate and hope we can keep working together for years to come.


For more info on NShore CEO, Teri Dreher, click here.