According to a presentation at the 2017 Oncology Nurse Advisor Navigation Summit, implementing navigation systems leads to fewer emergency department admissions in older cancer survivors, as well as reduced costs.
The number of geriatric cancer survivors is expected to rise in the coming years, with some estimating that the number will increase to 26.1 million people in the United States by 2040. Along with the rigors of cancer treatment, older adults are at a significantly higher risk of developing comorbidities, which often result in visits to the emergency room.
A team at the University of Alabama Birmingham Health System Cancer Community Network developed the Patient Care Connect Program (PCCP), a lay navigation program for adults aged 65 and up. The program was implemented in 12 cancer centers across 5 states in the southeast and is based on a stress assessment that utilizes the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Distress Thermometer.
The program’s results were positive across the board.
Requests for assistance were resolved to survivor satisfaction in 90.7% of cases. A survey of 360 navigated patients and a random group of Medicare beneficiaries who were potential PCCP users indicated 82% were very satisfied or satisfied with their care and 88.3% would recommend PCCP navigation to other patients.
Along with strong participant satisfaction, Medicare costs also fell by about $9,000 and hospital admissions went down by about 75% during the initial pilot.