When someone you love is diagnosed with a serious medical illness be their health champion
How to be a health champion
When a partner, family member or friend has been diagnosed with a serious medical illness, they may feel uncertain about what to do next. They may feel discouraged, anxious even, fearful. Naturally you want to help.
But how? Sometimes, the best support isn’t obvious. One of the most effective things you can do for a loved one facing a serious medical illness is to be their health champion. Help your loved one understand their condition, then help them choose their options as they navigate the care system.
Assist with knowledge
Lingering doubts, confusion, or a lack of information about their serious medical illness, their diagnosis and their course of treatment can take an emotional and mental toll. Getting solid and specific information about their unique situation can bolster optimism and a sense of control for people facing a major medical condition, according to research as well as the experiences of those coping with a life-changing medical diagnosis.
When your loved one is confronted with a condition like cancer, a medical second opinion can provide valuable reassurance at this crucial time. This second look may confirm your loved one’s own doctor’s evaluation or provide a firm basis for changing a diagnosis or treatment. And if the patient has already received a medical second opinion that conflicts with their primary doctor’s evaluation, a third opinion can clear up the confusion and suggest a medically sound way forward.
“A medical second opinion has great power,” says Richard Heinzl, MD, MPH, Global Medical Director at WorldCare Health, Inc. WorldCare has been in the business of providing medical second opinions and treatment recommendations for over 25 years. “The person you care for will either gain a measure of comfort knowing that their diagnosis and treatment plan is correct, or they will learn that there’s a better way forward. Even though they are dealing with an uncertain future, this can help put their mind somewhat at rest.”
WorldCare’s service provides access to teams of specialists from leading academic medical centers and teaching hospitals that comprise The WorldCare Consortium®. These experts would review your loved one’s records and test results, do a thorough evaluation, and deliver an independent medical second opinion. They would also provide a booklet, from 40 to 100 pages long, that gives the member (and you) the information needed to understand their condition.
This team-of-experts approach is what makes WorldCare’s service unique. Carefully chosen specialists apply expertise from their respective disciplines, like radiology and pathology, to each case.
Your loved one will feel the difference a second (or third) medical opinion makes. A woman who received a multi-disciplinary, multi-institution review of her case from WorldCare had this to say. “I now have peace of mind knowing that we are proceeding correctly at my local hospital.”
Another WorldCare client shared similar testimony. “Now, I have a confirmed diagnosis, and a treatment plan I can talk to my doctor about with confidence. I am armed with information to empower me to advocate for different treatments, more aligned with my overall health goals.”
Meanwhile, throughout diagnosis and treatment, continue to be a good friend. Simply spending time with a loved one can reduce stress and anxiety, and may be good for long-term health outcomes. Find out what your loved one feels comfortable doing to stay active and offer to go along.