Unique partnership between American Cancer Society and Parkland raises prevention awareness during National Cancer Control Awareness Month
DALLAS – As part of National Cancer Control Awareness Month in April, the American Cancer Society Patient Navigation Program based at Parkland Memorial Hospital is urging cancer patients, their families and caregivers to raise cancer awareness and prevention.
This partnership between Parkland and the Society marries the goals of both organizations to provide quality care to the medically underserved, eliminate barriers to care and guide patients through their medical journeys. It is unique among the Society’s hospital programs in that there are two full-time, on-site patient navigators. Both navigators are fully trained social workers – one employed by Parkland and the other employed by the Society.
The Parkland-based Society office, located in the oncology department, serves more than 1,200 Parkland patients annually by providing educational materials, emotional support and transportation assistance. The program also helps newly diagnosed patients better understand their diagnosis and treatment.
American Cancer Society patient navigator Stephanie Herrig encourages patients to participate in their treatment through research, asking the right questions and seeking the help of organizations such as the Society. “We want patients to be an active part of their treatment team and take ownership of the things that they can do on a daily basis to maintain their health,” Herrig said, noting that patients often feel empowered by playing a role in their treatment.
The navigators meet with patients and their families to provide information on treatment options, support groups, help with financial barriers and transportation, as well as donated items that include wigs for those experiencing hair loss related to cancer treatment, handmade blankets and pillows for use during chemotherapy and post-mastectomy bras, among many other services.
“By being on-site at Parkland, the Society navigators become a constant point of contact that patients depend on to help with finding, communicating and accessing what can be a very complex system,” said Valorie Harvey, Parkland’s Director of Cancer Services. “The navigators spend more than half of their time working directly with families or caregivers of oncology patients to help them understand the significance of diagnosis, treatment and the journey the patient faces. They truly are a resource and provide a great benefit to Parkland’s patients.”
The Society patient navigator program placed at Parkland in 1991 was the first of its kind in Texas. It continues to serve as a model for hospital-based Society navigators throughout the nation. For more information on the services provided by the Society at Parkland, please call 214.590.5588.
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