The advocate care program is a unique opportunity for undergraduates to provide continuity of care for the patients seen at our monthly clinic days. On a typical clinic day, undergraduates will act as patient advocates that guide the patient through the entire medical care process, all the way from initially speaking with an occupational therapist to getting "discharged" by pharmacy students who provide medication.
Often times, the physicians involved in the clinic recommend that patients receive a follow-up appointment to address concerns that could not be tackled in our makeshift clinic setting. As patient advocates, undergraduates typically work in pairs and provide transportation to and from the follow-up appointments in order to ensure these concerns are addressed. The advocate care program is a great way to establish rapport with the patients seen on clinic days in order to build a lasting relationship that establishes trust between USC students and physicians and those in the homeless community.
The advocate care program was founded in the spring of 2017 and attendance at follow-up appointments jumped from 15 percent to nearly 95 percent with the help of undergraduate students. As undergraduates, we do not have the knowledge to treat the medical conditions that our patients have; however, we can do the next best thing by providing them a way to speak with the professionals who can cure their respective diseases.