Advocacy in Healthcare Settings
This symposium discusses key findings of a research project funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) titled “Improving Healthcare Outcomes Through Advocacy” that gathered quantitative data from social workers, nurses, and medical residents, as well as qualitative data from patients and administrators in eight acute care hospitals in Los Angeles County. These findings are organized into five papers. Professor Bruce Jansson, Research Associate Lei Duan, and Post-Doctoral Research Associate Gretchen Heidemann will discuss how the project validated a patient advocacy engagement scale that measures healthcare professionals’ engagement in patient advocacy. They will also discuss findings of a multiple regression analysis that examines to what extent variables such as healthcare professionals’ ethical commitment to advocacy, their patient advocacy skills, and the organizational climate are associated with their actual advocacy engagement. Post-Doctoral Research Associate Heidemann will compare patient advocacy engagement between members of the three professions (social workers, nurses, and medical residents). Doctoral student Melissa Bird will examine to what extent these health professionals engage in policy advocacy as well as predictive factors using OLS regression analysis. Assistant Professor Judy DeBonis will present qualitative data gathered from 30 hospital administrators and patients that sheds light on differences in the conceptualization and definition of the term advocacy between these groups, and their efforts to comprehensively address patient problems in a changing healthcare system. Taken together, these papers provide important quantitative and qualitative data about the extent and nature of advocacy in acute-care hospitals, as well as offers tools to measure healthcare professionals’ engagement in advocacy. Additional research on advocacy is needed in healthcare, including in outpatient settings, hospice, nursing homes, and communities.