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.
The role of the Health Advocate is to:
In cases where no other dispute resolution process exists, the Health Advocate may carry out a review or investigation, 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
When someone contacts the office, they are connected with a Health Advocate Representative, who listens to understand their concern. Together, they will determine the issue(s) and then the Health Advocate Representative will conduct any necessary research and inquiry to learn more about the concern. The Health Advocate Representative will then work with the individual to develop a plan of action and provide support so that they can act on their own behalf when a referral is made to another complaint process, program or service.
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 individuals to find their way to the appropriate health services, health related programs, and resources to meet their expressed needs.
Educate and Inform
The Alberta Health Charter is an aspirational document, setting 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.