|The heart of navigation is personalized care. Everyone involved in the patient’s care has some role within the navigation process, whether it is a lay person who is arranging for an oncology appointment or sharing resources, a nurse proactively providing one-on-one education and facilitating communication with the interdisciplinary team, or a social worker facilitating the provision of financial support. It involves personalized assistance and support offered to patients, families, and caregivers to help overcome healthcare system barriers (eg, fragmented care) or personal barriers (eg, cultural, financial, educational, spiritual, psychosocial) and facilitate timely access to quality health and psychosocial care from prediagnosis through all phases of the cancer experience.
Identification of the patient’s life goals is incorporated into the navigation and treatment planning process to ensure that treatment is received with measures taken to preserve his/her life goals whenever possible.
|Survivorship is the process of living with, through, or beyond cancer. By this definition, cancer survivorship begins at the moment of diagnosis. It includes people who continue to receive treatment to either reduce the risk of recurrence or to manage the cancer as a chronic disease.
Navigation plays an integral role in survivorship care by helping to ensure that the survivor’s ongoing health needs are met, including screening for recurrence and secondary cancers, managing late and long-term effects of treatment, lifestyle changes to reduce cancer risk, and managing comorbidities.
Cancer diagnosis and treatment is a life-altering experience. Navigators are in a key position to help newly diagnosed patients with cancer understand the importance of self-advocacy and help empower them to participate as a member of the care team, ensuring that the care they receive meets their needs and preferences. Taking such an approach encompasses maintenance and establishment of life goals, applying survivorship care at the moment of diagnosis, and striving to diminish the negative impact cancer care has on an individual physically and emotionally.
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