A patient care coordinator provides a valuable service to individuals who are hospitalized or receiving ongoing treatment for a variety of illnesses. This person often acts as a liaison between medical staff and patients to ensure that the best possible care is received. These professionals may act as advocates, assist families who are coping with a loved one's illness, and offer supportive and personal attention when other medical professionals are inaccessible. It is also common for a care coordinator to recommend special programs and support groups designed to help people deal with the psychological effects of various medical conditions or diseases that accompany a grim prognosis.
When patients are dealing with chronic medical conditions or acute diseases, it is often difficult to focus on certain such things as handling insurance issues, completing paperwork, finding specialists, locating physical therapy centers, or navigating the healthcare system in general. In fact, many of these administrative tasks can be downright complicated, even for people who are not suffering from an ailment. A patient care coordinator can streamline many processes and handle some of these time-consuming undertakings. Individuals are then able to focus on healing, rather than paperwork.
In addition to the management of medical needs and administrative responsibilities, a patient care coordinator will generally spend plenty time with hospitalized individuals and their family members. The role of this individual may vary, depending on the needs of each person he or she helps. Some people simply need a shoulder to cry on or a friendly voice to help them through a trying and difficult time. Unfortunately, doctors and nurses rarely have time to devote this type of personal attention to their patients. For this reason, a patient care coordinator can also help further explain a diagnosis, a doctor's treatment plan or answer other basic questions.
A patient care coordinator may also arrange home healthcare services for a patient when he or she is discharged from the hospital. Additionally, any special equipment that is needed, such as medical supplies or walking aides, as well as transportation services can also be coordinated. Some people are unable to afford the treatment or equipment that a doctor deems necessary, however. When a person has inadequate health insurance or is unable to afford costly deductibles and other out-of-pocket medical expenses, the coordinator may offer assistance in obtaining financial aid to cover some of these excess costs and make ongoing treatment and rehabilitation possible.