Q: What is the difference between Medical Escorts & Medical Advocates?

The Medical Advocate and Medical Escort programs have similar names, but are actually quite different.

Marie Mazzeo is Volunteer Programs Manager at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services.

A Medical Escort’s primary role is helping older adults get to-and-from medical appointments, and it’s common for them to help several different people in any given month.

With Medical Advocate the volunteer is matched with one client, who needs help understanding their medical care. In addition to accompanying the older adult to an appointment, the advocate is in the room when that older adult is talking to the doctor. They become familiar with the older adult’s medical issues, and are there to provide support.

The advocate can help out in a lot of ways. Some common examples include ensuring that important questions get asked while at the doctor’s office, and reinforcing that information after the appointment is over.

The best medical advocates are reliable, patient, good communicators, who work well with older adults. They also need to be available during the day, because that’s when most medical appointments take place.

All of our volunteers in this program realize how important that support can be. Some of our clients have very complicated medical needs, and our volunteers are really dedicated to helping them stay on the right track.

The Medical Advocate program is free for Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) clients with complex medical needs.

Marie Mazzeo is Volunteer Programs Manager at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services. For more information about Medical Advocates or other volunteer programs, contact SCES at 617-628-2601 or visit the Volunteer Opportunities page on our website, eldercare.org.  Learn more about SCES by following us on Facebook and Twitter.