Advocacy Skills

  • The skills of advocacy by the individual include open, honest communication with pain care team (family, friends, caregivers and clinicians), tracking impact of pain on daily living, work and relationships with others, reporting pain treatment successes and challenges and keeping open to adopting new pain treatments, techniques and lifestyle changes.
  • The skills of advocacy by another working on the behalf of the person with pain include mediating, coordinating, clarifying, resolving conflict, and assisting them to acquire, interpret, and utilize health care information.
  • Advocacy in pain management requires that the individual, clinician and caregiver must:
    • Take an active role in the education and care of one’s self or the person with pain.
    • [Person with pain] Report when pain is not managed effectively or access to pain care is denied. Work with others who are attempting to intervene and problem solve
    • [Clinician/Caregiver] Represent the cause or interest the person affected by pain, even if that cause or interest does not necessarily coincide with one’s personal beliefs, opinions, conclusions, or recommendations.
    • Teach and support others as they learn skills to self-advocate and advocate for others (patient, peer or group).
    • Speak out on issues of concern that affect pain care and impact on the person affected by pain and those around them. This can seen in a variety of ways:
      • In the clinical setting (office visit, hospital bedside, long-term care settings) or hospital/college outreach programs.
      • Informal settings at home or in your community such as talking with a neighbor, family member or workplace colleague.
      • In your community such as churches, synagogues, rotary clubs and chamber of commerce
      • Formal settings such as sitting down and talking to a legislator or a media interview;
      • Intensive activities such as engaging in efforts to change a change in laws or policies to improve access to pain treatment, public or professional pain education or pain research.
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