Maine Medical Center and American Cancer Society Join Forces to Provide Maine’s FIRST Patient Navigator Program for Cancer Patients
Free, confidential program helps cancer patients with the emotional, logistical, and financial challenges of their unique cancer experience
December 2, 2008
Maine Medical Center’s Cancer Institute in Scarborough and the American Cancer Society have introduced the first American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program in Maine. This free, confidential program helps cancer patients, their families, and caregivers by finding local and hospital resources; being a supportive listener; acknowledging cultural differences to both doctors and patients; and providing guidance and support as they face the emotional, logistical, and financial challenges of their unique cancer experience.
More than 8,000 Maine residents are living with cancer. Because of advances in medical research, more treatment options are available. But there are times when navigating the health care system feels like being lost in the Maine woods without a map or compass to guide you. It does not need to be that way.
Maine Medical Center’s Cancer Institute is expected to serve more than 2,500 cancer patients this year. As no cancer experience is the same, Patient Navigators are trained to provide newly diagnosed patients with customized, high-quality, current, easy-to-understand cancer-related information while also helping them navigate their way through the health care system.
Navigators improve the quality of life for cancer patients, families, and caregivers throughout the continuum – from diagnosis through treatment and into survivorship. Furthermore, navigators increase treatment compliance and follow-up care by guiding patients and caregivers through a greater understanding of the issues impacting recovery.
“A cancer diagnosis can be a life-changing experience for patients, their families, and their caregivers,” said Kip DeSerres, American Cancer Society Vice President for Health Initiatives in Maine. “The patient navigator provides support every step of the way, from explaining what to expect with therapy, to finding resources for transportation to treatment appointments. Fighting cancer is a difficult, challenging journey; with the help of trained navigators, patients don’t have to go through it alone.”
The Patient Navigator Program at the Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute is made possible, in part, by a generous planned gift to the American Cancer Society from Maine residents Otis and Ruth Albee of Rockland. Mr. Albee set up a trust to care for his wife; at the end of her life, over $200,000 was given to the American Cancer Society to benefit Maine cancer patients.
“The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program at Maine Medical Center enables us to assist patients with personalized community resources and support,” said Donna Green, Clinical Nurse Manager for Maine Medical Center’s Cancer Institute. “This program reaches patients at the time of diagnosis, a point when they are most overwhelmed and don't know where to turn. It provides a critical link to local resources that will they will need to support, maintain, and improve their quality of life.”
The Patient Navigator at Maine Medical Center is part of a strategic effort to significantly extend the reach of the American Cancer Society’s innovative Patient Navigator Program – a comprehensive initiative designed to assist individual cancer patients in negotiating the health care system. Launched in 2005, the program, in collaboration with community-based hospitals and cancer centers, links people affected by cancer to patient navigators who serve as personal guides for patients. Patient navigators, who are based at treatment centers, receive national-level training through the American Cancer Society, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute Patient Navigation Research Program navigators, as well as localized training and opportunities for ongoing education.
There are currently 84 American Cancer Society Patient Navigator program sites across the U.S., including four in New England. The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program is a component of the American Cancer Society Cancer Resource Network, a free, comprehensive resource to help patients and their caregivers manage the impact of cancer on their lives through up-to-date cancer information and referrals to Society programs and other community resources. For more information about how the American Cancer Society helps patients and caregivers, call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org .
About The American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. The Society’s mission is carried out every day by millions of volunteers across the United States. Call 800-227-2345, 24 hours a day, any day of the year for cancer information, connections to local resources, or simply to talk with a caring person when you or a family member needs strength and encouragement.
About Maine Medical Center
Maine Medical Center is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland and the entire state. MMC's unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unprecedented depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is a member of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in southern, central, and western Maine. For more information, please visit www.mmc.org .
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