Sunday, February 17, 2008

Patient Navigation System

I really must hope that in the future the Patient navigator will spread across the country. The American Cancer Society had such a program. It began in 2001 in Nova Scotia. It has been used for women with breast cancer, but needs to be initiated for all medical disorders.

How do you know where to turn? Doctors do not have time to help you wend your way through the system. We need people to listen to us, explain the medical terminology, assist with making and keeping appointments, support us, give assistance with child care, transportation, lining up tests, determining a plan. Many of us in our middle age use a financial planner, surely we can provide a person to help us determine a treatment plan, and Holmes, et al., demands that we have treatment goals, a treatment plan, a wise and judicious use of chemotherapy and be on the lookout for polypharmacy.

Our seniors deserve a Patient Navigator to help us through the process. Adult children are often unable to assist, as they are as emotionally involved in the process. They need a guide through the maze of the health care system. They can provide feedback to the hospital. This was what was missing for me and my family. We took doctors for their word, but they did not know was was going on at home.

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