1. The navigator program officially launched mid-September of 2016.
2. There is currently one navigator: Maureen Lavelle, BSN, RN, OCN, a certified oncology nurse who helped launch the program and was recently awarded WellStar’s Crump Award for Excellence in Oncology Nursing
3. The program is initially serving breast cancer patients and will branch out to serve patients with lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
4. Services provided include education, offering support services available at the hospital and county (transportation and social services), scheduling of appointments, and offering information about steps or phases of treatment.
5. The program comes at no additional cost to patients.
6. WellStar Paulding added the navigator program due to the need in the community of WellStar and Paulding, Lavelle says. “Newly diagnosed patients of any cancer are very overwhelmed with diagnosis and treatment planning. The navigator can help ease concerns and aid with treatment planning.”
7. The navigator program at WellStar Paulding will model itself off of navigator programs at the other WellStar facilities and add support groups and increased collaboration with physicians to improve the patient’s experience. “We are currently involved in a monthly tumor board conference with radiation oncology, medical oncology, surgery, radiology, and nursing,” Lavelle says.
8. The navigator supports the WellStar mission by directly supporting the patient through the care continuum. “We serve our patients better by providing these support services,” Lavelle says.
9. WellStar supports the navigation program through promotion of the program and facilitating its growth.
For further growth, Lavelle says she plans to start a general cancer support group, caregiver support group and educational services for the patients and families.