Patient Navigators: Showing You the Way

Patient navigators are increasingly available at hospitals and other healthcare settings to help patients deal with life-changing diagnoses.

Even in the best of circumstances, navigating the highly specialized and confusing arena of the U.S. healthcare system can be daunting.

Doing so when you’re ill, stressed by a diagnosis, or disadvantaged due to language or cultural barriers makes it easy to become overwhelmed and miss connecting with appropriate and quality medical care.

One solution to this increasingly common problem is to work with a patient navigator (PN), who can guide you through the web of doctor appointments, lab tests, treatment protocols and insurance eligibility. PNs can also help with follow-up care, link you to clinical trials and community support groups, and anything else that is likely to improve your outcome and well-being.

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is devastating. Add to that the immediate challenge of navigating the complexities of treatment, and the advantages of having a PN at your side are obvious.

PNs working in cancer care assist patients, family members and caregivers in gaining timely access to appropriate medical and emotional care at every step, including:
• Understanding the diagnosis
• Coordinating appointments
• Explaining treatment options
• Connecting patients with counseling, support groups, nutritional support, physical therapy, and any other needed services and care

Patient navigation for people with cancer has been credited with improved survival rates, increased use of appropriate care and resources, better adherence to cancer treatments, and decreased medical costs.

Columbus Regional Health’s Cancer Rehabilitation Program is designed to help cancer survivors function at the highest level possible. To learn more about this program, visit our Cancer Center page or call 812-372-3035.

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