Navigating the Treatment Process
At Adena, we provide nurse navigators to help cancer patients “navigate” through the complex and sometimes confusing journey of battling cancer. Navigators are trained to assist with every step of care – from scheduling appointments, arranging transportation, assisting with financial counseling or just answering questions. The Adena Cancer Center has four specialized patient navigators to assist, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer patients.
Sometimes fighting cancer can feel a bit like driving without a map. Treatment often requires being seen by multiple physicians as well as regular — sometimes even daily — chemotherapy or radiation appointments.
But we’re here to help. Adena’s patient navigators are nurses who help arrange appointments, answer questions about the healthcare system and provide access to resources such as financial counseling or a social worker. The Adena Cancer Center has four patient navigators, each dedicated to a specific physician team.
“The Navigator has an important role” says manager of radiation oncology at Adena. “Their job is to support and educate patients preparing them for their cancer journey. They’re a bridge between the patient and the physician. They are also there for emotional support for patient and caregiver.”
Patient navigators help arrange transportation and language translation services, ensure that medical records are at appointments, and help make sure patients and their caregivers are satisfied with their experience at Adena.
Tips for Using a Nurse Navigator
If you’ve been assigned a patient navigator, make sure you take advantage of this valuable resource. Here are four tips for using a Nurse Navigator.
- Know how to reach your navigator. Your navigator is the person you call when you have questions, so keep their contact information in a convenient place, or program it into your phone’s address book.
- Let them help. Patients sometimes feel like they have to schedule all their own appointments and manage their own care. But your job is to fight cancer, so let your navigator help you so you can focus on healing.
- Discuss your concerns. You might be surprised what resources are available. Start the conversation by telling your navigator if you have any concerns. Will anything prevent you from getting the care you need? For example, if travel to appointments or finances are concerning, let your navigator know.
- Ask questions. Your navigator is here to answer your questions, and if she doesn’t know the answer, they’ll find them for you.
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