March 2012

New--March 4th through the 10th is Patient Safety Awareness Week. Read "Medical mistakes still too common--Viewpoint" by Debi Quirk on the Seattle/LocalHealthGuide.

March 1 - 31 is National Colorectal Awareness Month.

Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year, more than 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it. If you're 50 years old or older, getting a screening test for colorectal cancer could save your life. Symptoms for colorectal cancer may include:

  • Blood in or on the stool (bowel movement).
  • Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away.
  • Losing weight and you don't know why.

These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you're having any of these symptoms, the only way to know what is causing them is to see your health care provider. The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age. More than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older.

Colorectal cancer screening saves lives, but many people are not being screened according to national guidelines. You can find more information here.

March 1 - 31 is National Endometriosis Awareness Month

March 5 - 11 is National Sleep Awareness Week

An annual public education and awareness campaign to promote the importance of sleep. The week begins with the announcement of the National Sleep Foundation's Sleep in America poll results, and ends with the clock change to Daylight Saving Time where Americans lose one hour of sleep. Here are healthy tips for sleeping from an article by Gina Chen, MD, "Daylight Saving Time--Sleep Tips from the Polyclinic."

March 17th is St. Patrick's Day.

"May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that you grow. And may trouble avoid you wherever you go." --Irish Blessing

March 11 - 17 is Private Professional Patient Advocates Week.

Today there are several hundred patient advocates across the country. Private patient advocates are growing as many people find it difficult to traverse a health care system to get the appropriate care that they need on their own. Advocates understand the system. They can assist in accessing appropriate and safe care along with identifying many other available options. Patients and their families are reaching out to private patient advocates to get the help they need.

Patient advocates are professionals who serve as a liaison between patients and other health care professionals who are involved in the health of the individual. A patient advocate can be the patient’s primary spokesperson to ensure that she or he receives the medical attention they need, as well as keeping them safe. Patient advocates can help improve communication between everyone.

Patient advocates review your medical diagnosis, research all treatment options, evaluate care needs, and are involved in medical case management. They can also accompany you to a provider visit or sit with you at your bedside in the hospital. They can assist in determining the need for hospice and home health care or nursing homes and assisted living facilities that suit the patient’s needs.

An advocate can help with the patient’s hospital discharge to ensure that the transition back to home or to a long-term care facility goes smoothly. They offer assistance in reminders for taking medications and following up with healthcare provider appointments.

Advocates help with emotional needs for patients and families who are having trouble coping by connecting them with services that offer mental health support services.

There are other advocates who may not assist with care itself, but can assist with paperwork, communicate with insurers as well as make sure that physicians and medical facilities receive timely payment for their services. Some advocates can even help you find legal resources related to your medical issues.

As the country continues to deal with the future of our health care system, and as more than 34 million new people join the ranks of those who are able to access care, the healthcare maze will become more difficult to navigate. More and more people will find themselves confused, frustrated, lost, and possibly sicker than before. Patient advocates help you when you need someone to sort through the questions that have not been answered, decrease your frustrations, and provide guidance through the healthcare system so that you receive the health care you deserve. Hiring a private patient advocate will give you peace of mind, allowing you and your loved ones to focus on healing.

If you have question about how a patient advocate can help you, please contact us.

Links to learn more information about private patient advocates:

"Ahead of the Curve: Patient Advocate" by Marty Nemco from

"Be Your Own Best Health Advocate" by Leslie Goldman from O, The Oprah Magazine.

"How to Find a Health Advocate" by Leslie Goldman from O, The Oprah Magazine.

"What Does a Patient Advocate Do?" by ADVOConnection's Trisha Torrey.

"Why You May Need a Health Advocate" by Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., AHRQ from an AARP "My Medical Manager" bulletin.

March 18 - 24 is National Poison Prevention Week.

Approximately 90% of poisoning exposures occur in the home. Prevention is the best medicine.

March 20th is the First Day of Spring.

Spring in Seattle is one of the most lovliest times of the year. Get out and enjoy the sun, the cherry blossoms, and the daffodils and tulips.

May 22nd is World Water Day.

International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

March 27th is American Diabetes Alert Day.

American Diabetes Association Alert Day American Diabetes Association Alert Day® is a one-day "wake-up call” asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a growing epidemic in the United States, but it can be controlled with knowledge and healthy behavior. The Diabetes Risk Test asks users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history, and other potential risk factors for prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.

Preventative tips are provided for everyone who takes the test, including encouraging those at high risk to talk with their health care provider. Why is Alert Day important? Diabetes is a serious disease that strikes nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States, and a quarter of them—7 million—do not even know they have it. An additional 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, diagnosis often comes 7 to 10 years after the onset of the disease, after disabling and even deadly complications have had time to develop. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death. The Association has made a strong commitment to primary prevention of type 2 diabetes by increasing awareness.

For more information go to: