August’s Facebook Live discussion focused on the event that has changed so much this year in the way oncology navigators work with patients, providers, and the community. The coronavirus pandemic shuttered practices, filled hospital beds, altered the way care is delivered, and is creating a backlog of patients who did not receive screenings or other tests during the first weeks of the crisis.
During this session, the presenters also addressed health equity and access, loss of health insurance, the impact on delay in early detection and screenings, care delivery, and the importance of oncology navigators.
Here’s a quick recap of the top 3 takeaways from the discussion moderated by Monica Dean, AONN+ Director of Patient Navigation Program Development, with panelists Andi Dwyer, BS, and Kim Parham, RN, BSN, CNBN.
- Fear is frequently a barrier to care. Patients’ fears are now compounded by the threat of contracting the virus in addition to their disease. Oncology navigators can help alleviate fears by communicating with patients and physicians about the concrete steps being taken to minimize the possibility of spreading the virus, and how patients can protect themselves. They can also help patients to understand that having screenings and tests is an important part of their care. Make sure patients are showing up for appointments.
- Oncology navigators are well positioned to help educate patients and the community about the coronavirus. They can deliver information about the disease, symptoms, complications, and limiting exposure and spread. They can use their knowledge and platform as healthcare providers to break through gossip and rumors. They can be involved in contact tracing, resource coordination, and cultural navigation. Even if reassigned to another area or job during the outbreak, navigators have so many skills to contribute during this time.
- Oncology navigators should keep track of metrics to demonstrate return on investment for oncology practices. Put a plan in place with the metrics that are important to you, how you will measure and collect them, and how you will use them to demonstrate the value of navigators’ work. Demonstrate how essential navigators are for limiting hospital readmissions, preventing no-shows, improving patient retention rates, and other health economics. It’s time for navigators to do what they do best!
AONN+ leaders also announced the launch of the new AONN+ Community Outreach, Early Detection, and Screening Committee and encourage all interested to join.
Join the conversation during our next Navigate Now: How Can We Help? Facebook Live event on Distress Screening and the Role of the Navigator, Wednesday, September 2, 2020, 1:00 pm-2:15 pm EDT.