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Professional Health Advocacy is a growing field that is widely misunderstood. It is growing for a reason;: getting what you need from the fractured health care system takes a huge toll.

The high costs that come with being a caregiver for the elderly was the subject of a recent article in JAMA.  The report concluded that 14.7 million caregivers are assisting 7.7 million older adults, 6.5 million (44.1%) provide substantial help, and 4.4 million (29.8%) provide some help. Caregivers providing substantial help with health care were significantly more likely to experience emotional difficulty, restrictions in preferred activities, and work productivity loss. Still, only one-quarter use supportive services.

In that study, almost half (45.5%) of the caregivers providing substantial help with health care assisted an older adult with dementia. The National Association on Caregiving released a study on the particularly more difficult challenges for those On pins and Needles: Caregiving of Adults with Mental Illness.

Per the report these caregivers are especially vulnerable.  They face complex, high burden care situations, resulting in higher caregiver stress and strain.  On average they are 54 years old providing 32 hours of care each week and have been providing care for a long time: about 9 years.  Not surprisingly the report identifies “startling inadequacies in the U.S. health care system.”

The recommendations suggest “Include(ing) caregivers as part of the health care team, in ways that allow them to understand their loved one’s diagnosis without limiting the patient’s independence. Policies and practice should fully include individuals, families, providers, and supports.”

These supports include Professional Health Advocates. When family members are overwhelmed, Professionals can help identify resources to reduce the burdens and can help navigate the Health Care system to get more of the attention and care needed and overall reduce the strains. Those that use Professional Health Advocate services –  Hedge Lucky – and the more advanced the planning, the lower the burden and the luckier they are.

For more information on how Professional Health Advocates may help you, contact us The Lucky Hedgehog Company, Inc. at 212-600-0234 or