IKOR can help with medical advocacy and patient advocacy in Greater Pittsburgh, PA main image

A time of illness or accident is a stressful time for seniors, individuals with disabilities, children with special needs, and their families. The best-laid plans can go awry and, put simply; no one is at their best when they are sick. Seniors, individuals with disabilities and families of children with special needs, often need someone who can look out for their best interests and help them navigate the confusing healthcare system. They need an advocate.

When you are unsure of where to turn to get help with life’s challenges, let an IKOR Advocate help. Through our Life Management Advocacy Plans, IKOR Advocates can gain a comprehensive view of our client’s life and make objective recommendations to help them maintain or improve their quality of life.

This chart displays the services that IKOR offers in Southwestern Pennsylvania

Our client-centered approach goes beyond case management to offer integrated life and care coordination services. Our highly skilled team of professionals can help manage the medical, financial, and personal aspects of life. At IKOR, we simplify the complex parts of life to allow our clients, and their families to focus on life’s more important moments.

Our medical advocacy team consists of highly skilled Registered Nurse Patient Advocates with experience working in diverse settings. Our RN Advocates have at least ten years of varied clinical experience and are assigned to our clients based on the client’s needs and their expertise. Our Personal Needs Coordinators come from social work or mental health backgrounds and support our clients in psychosocial, (mental health, cognitive, social) recreational, facilitating change, interpersonal interaction, and many other areas.  Our team members work collaboratively using their skills and experience to support our clients in all aspects of their life.

Medical Advocacy Services

Medical Oversight

Often people get lost in the managed care health system, receiving treatment that doesn’t address their medical issue, or they are working with many specialists who aren’t addressing the needs of the whole person. Our team of RN Patient Advocates and other professionals work to ensure that patients get the right treatment when they need it. We review medical findings and treatment options. We suggest alternatives and ask hard questions. Our team isn’t afraid to push for treatment that our client needs. We call for second opinions when necessary, but we’re often able to communicate with medical providers in a way that improves care and outcomes. We even accompany our clients to medical appointments asking questions and getting answers to help our clients understand their care options.

Chronic Illness

As we age or as we are diagnosed with chronic health conditions, many aspects of routine daily living can become increasingly challenging. Without a plan, unexpected changes can turn into catastrophic events, potentially leading to institutionalized long-term care than can often be avoided with a comprehensive plan. We focus on coordination among providers, medication management, and safe hospital discharge transitions in care. We offer on-call availability should emergencies occur. Our team members provide non-duplicative services meaning we use all programs available to support the client. We also make recommendations to programs most are not aware are available to them.

Medical Power of Attorney

A Medical Power of Attorney is a legal document giving a trusted person the right to make health care decisions and the responsibility to make sure doctors and other medical personnel provide necessary and appropriate care according to the wishes of the client. A Medical Power of Attorney includes end-of-life care. When IKOR of Western Pennsylvania acts as Medical Power of Attorney, an IKOR RN Patient Advocate works to understand our client’s values and wishes for long term care and their care-related needs. The RN Patient Advocate gets to know our clients' medical wishes and assures that medical care is well managed. We discuss what might be gray areas of concern, focusing on making sure that you are receiving the care you need. We take making health care decisions and the responsibility to ensure you are receiving the appropriate care that aligns with our clients, preferences, values, and wishes.

Our advocacy team works with our clients to monitor them in any setting that they live.  Our clients live in their own home, in care communities, memory care, group homes and skilled nursing communities. We provide services in person and we recommend and the use of technologies to reduce risks and improve safety and security. We focus on preserving as much independence as possible based on the client’s functional abilities. Our services include in person interactions and we leverage technology to allow our team to observe changes and potential risks related to safety, exploitation, or abuse. 

The IKOR Life Management Team works together to Assess, Plan, and Manage the ongoing circumstances creating short-and-long-term goals for each client. Life Management Assessment Plans (LMAP) and goals are updated at least yearly to help our clients maintain quality of life and to address the evolving circumstances.

Patient advocates gain a comprehensive view of our patient's lives and help to navigate complex care situations image

Life Management Services

Living Arrangements

We always recommend that our clients visit Senior Care Communities or group home communities when they are well and are not in a hurry to make a change. Visiting a care community, having lunch, and participating in activities within the community is a fun way to explore the options when you’re not quite ready to make a move. We help to assess the level and type of care for the individuals required. We try to limit the number of moves an individual will need to make. We also help choose the type of care community that might meet their individual needs best. We work with a Senior Living Advisor or a Disability or Special Needs Service Coordinator to do a broad search for our clients when needed. When a final decision is being made, we help our clients make the best choice for the long term.

Routine Bill Pay

The tasks of managing and paying bills, income taxes, and paperwork can be overwhelming for anyone.  Seniors and adults with disabilities don’t have the skills or the time available to handle these chores. From reviewing and paying bills to account reconciliation, we support so clients retain their independence. Regardless of the complexity, our Financial Advocates eliminate the irritation involved with paying routine bills monthly. 

Coordination & Oversight of Life Services

We offer care coordination to meet our client’s needs and preferences in the delivery of high-quality, high-value health care as well as addressing safety concerns and improving your quality of life. We help to coordinate services and come up with a plan in the following areas addressing concerns that are not already being directed by other providers: Medical, Catastrophic Illness or Injuries, Psycho-Social, Environmental, Routine Financial Support, Safety, Managing and Avoiding Crisis, Addressing Family Dynamics, Support for Attorneys, Financial and Wealth Management Professionals, and Leveraging Technology and Local Resources to help them achieve as much independence as possible.

Predatory Issues

Elder abuse is a serious problem in our society.  Our health care system allows people to live well into their 80’s & 90’s; the same longevity can cause them to rely on others for help in managing their needs. With this dependency comes the risk that a caregiver, neighbor, or family member, will exploit the older person for their advantage. Our employees are experts in recognizing Elder Abuse. We train our employees to understand the Profile of the Perpetrator and the difference between opportunists and predators. We understand Undue Influence and the different stages of undue influence take. We work with our clients, their families and other professionals to minimize or address predatorial concerns. 

Personal Rights Protections

We think dignity is autonomous with personal rights protection. Dignity and personal rights can be undermined in any living situation. From self-neglect with individuals who can no longer care for themselves in their own home, to predatorial concerns, to a nursing home or group home neglect, finding the balance between dignity/ personal rights protection and safety is often nuanced and complicated. "What is truly in the client’s best interest?" is a question we often ask. When you combine nuanced and complicated care with managed health care having someone to provide oversight to support over time offers improves our client’s quality of life. The lack of support and oversight overtime often creates a scenario where dignity/personal rights are lost. We see it happen every day. It’s much easy to maintain dignity and individual rights than it is to get them back once it’s lost.

Ensuring Safety & Independence

For seniors who want to stay in their homes into their eighties and beyond, the key to their maintaining independence is safety. Aging in place and maintaining independence and safety is all about planning and addressing concerns as they happen. A secure environment; smart, senior-friendly technology; and a pragmatic understanding of the aging process is vital to ensuring safety & independence for as long as possible. Our Planning for Dignity program in pre-retirement allows our team members to help seniors understand the aging process. We help seniors create a plan to age in place instead of waiting for a medical or safety emergency to happen and limit independence. 

If you have questions about how our Medical Advocacy & Life Management Services might best support a senior, an adult with disabilities, or a child with special needs in your life, call the office today for a complimentary consultation to learn more about us.

Services / Medical Advocacy & Life Management