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Heather Bottoms, RN

With over 30 years of experience as an RN, I have worked in 4 different countries and across many disciplines—Palliative Care, Pediatric and Adult Oncology, Cardiology, and Occupational Health. I have worked as a volunteer in a third-world country and I have done private duty nursing in first-world nations.

My varied experience has taught me that despite all the differences, people want to make informed decisions about their health.

Having one of the best healthcare systems in the world means nothing if the care isn’t coordinated in a way that best serves the affected individual and their family. The more complex the situation, the more critical the coordination becomes. This is often left to those dealing with the sudden change in their health status or their immediate families. They often have young families of their own at home. Add to this a large number of specialists and a GP that lives in another city/province/country and the stress can quadruple. As a Health Advocate, I am here to ease the overwhelming confusion and streamline your healthcare.

One of the biggest challenges individuals and families face is an unexpected health diagnosis, decline, or crisis. I have experienced this within my own family and found it challenging to get an understanding of the next steps, diagnosis, treatment options, and expectations – and I’d been working in healthcare almost my entire adult life! And then it happened to me.  Instead of focusing on rest and healing, my entire hospital stay I was having to advocate for the things I would advocate for as a nurse – effective pain management, discharge planning, and, sometimes, basic care.

I realized just how challenging this must be for so many people that don’t have the background, experience, and training I do.  As your Health Advocate, my job is to help you maneuver the healthcare system, so you can take time to rest and heal.

British Columbia Patient Advocates