Meet Nan Wetherhorn of Living Healthy with Nan in Southeast Florida (Miami Beach area)

Patients and caregivers who need help with a variety of health-related services from hospital bedside, to research, to prevention and shared decision making will be well-served by connecting with Nan Wetherhorn.

AdvoConnection recently interviewed Nan and learned more about the service she can provide, and her passion for helping patients and families.

Nan, what made you want to be a patient advocate?

As an Intensive Care Unit Nurse, I saw the need for improving communication with patients and family members. I saw the need even more when my mom was diagnosed and treated for Ovarian Cancer at a major teaching hospital. She was very intelligent but knew that when she first heard the diagnosis, she asked the doctor to talk with me because she would not be able to process anything more than the diagnosis.

I was able to work well with her doctor over the 7, almost 8 years she went through treatment and remission. He encouraged me to start my health care advising business.

I have my nursing degree from Vanderbilt University and have worked in ICUs (adult, pediatric and neonatal) since 1976. In the ICU, nurses are definitely the patient’s advocate and voice. I feel that my ICU nursing experience, the experience with my Mom’s illness and my ability to deal with many types of patients gives me the background and experience to be an excellent patient advocate.

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When a patient or caregiver calls you, what do you listen for?
I love working with patients who have complex medical issues, with cancer patients and with seniors and their families.

Will you share a success story – a real victory in your work?

My client hired me to help evaluate the care her mother was receiving at a Boston facility with the goal of moving her mother to a different facility, closer to this daughter and closer to the mother’s home.

In a 2 week period, I gathered all the medical information about the mother, collaborated with the daughter and providers to make some changes to her care, and helped her get moved, too. Here are some of the steps we took:

I began at the facility where the mother was located to see what issues might need to be dealt with. Since the bedside nurse was not allowed to speak with me, I connected with the nursing supervisor. But she had no answers for my questions and concerns (an additional reason it was smart to move the mother to a new facility), so I then scheduled a call with the facility’s doctor. The call took one hour, and in that time, we discontinued 2 medications that she did not need, we started her on a medication she should have been receiving for 4 weeks (but which had fallen through the cracks), and explained the facility changing process.

We also learned that the mother needed a short surgical procedure for feeding issues which the doctor and I were then able to explain to the daughter, enough for her to be able to consent to the procedure for her mother.

The daughter also needed to decide which facility to move her mother to. So I reviewed the many facilities in the area, then gave her the names of the five best-suited facilities near her and the questions she should ask for her own review. She chose the one she thought would be best for her mother and four days later the move took place.

The daughter and the mother were happy with the way things progressed.

Nan – it’s clear you served that family very well. You’ve improved quality of life for both the mother and the daughter!

Any last words to share with us?

I have a favorite saying, something I truly believe in, from Margaret Mead: “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

Nan is ready to help you or your loved one, too.
Contact Nan Wetherhorn today.

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