The Health Advocate promotes self-advocacy and supports Albertans in dealing with their concerns about health services by:
- listening to the concerns of Albertans and supporting them in finding ways to resolve them
- providing education about the Alberta Health Charter
- referring Albertans to the appropriate complaints resolution process
- reviewing or investigating complaints under the Alberta Health Act
- providing information about health care services and programs
- reporting to the Minister of Health on the Health Advocate's activities and health related issues that concern Albertans
Health Advocate role
The role of the Health Advocate is to assist, navigate, review, educate and inform.
Assist and navigate
The health service system is complex and difficult to understand, particularly for those who are suffering, in pain and are vulnerable. The Health Advocate assists you to find your way to the appropriate health services, health related programs, and resources to meet your expressed needs.
When you contact our office, you are connected with a Health Advocate representative who listens to understand your concern and determine the issue. Next, the representative will do some research to learn more about the concern. The representative will then work with you to develop a plan of action and provide support. This helps you to act on your own behalf if you are referred to another complaint process, program or service.
In cases where no other dispute resolution process exists, the Health Advocate may carry out a review, with or without a complaint, into situations where someone is believed to have failed to act in a manner consistent with the Alberta Health Charter.
Educate and inform
The Alberta Health Charter sets out the expectations for interactions among patients, health providers and health service organizations. The Health Advocate provides education about the Alberta Health Charter and how it applies to Alberta’s health service system.
The Health Advocate aims to use every interaction between staff and Albertans as an opportunity to educate people on roles, responsibilities and expectations with the system.
The Health Advocate cannot:
- represent an individual at court or tribunals
- reverse a clinical or administrative decision
- take disciplinary action against any health service provider
- order any fines or other penalties
- investigate complaints involving federal or municipal governments, police, universities, schools or other non-health related companies
With more than 6 years at the Office of the Alberta Health Advocates Catherine Douglas is the Health and Mental Health Advocate. She has more than 40 years of experience working with persons with disabilities, in health care and in seniors housing across 4 different provinces. Catherine’s passion for and dedication to person-centered care combined with her extensive experience, help to support Albertans as they navigate the complicated and ever-changing health system. A lover of song, dance and anything Scottish, Catherine lives in Edmonton with her husband and 2 spoiled dogs
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