The original concept of patient navigation was pioneered in 1990 by Dr. Harold P. Freeman, a surgical oncologist at Harlem Hospital, for the purpose of eliminating barriers to timely cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care. Many individuals in medically underserved or minority communities were at risk because of financial, communication, health care system and cultural barriers to care. Over the years, data from Dr. Freeman’s programs and others began to prove how valuable navigation is in improving diagnosis and treatment outcomes.
In short, a navigator is an information, process and resource specialist that identifies needs and guides individuals through all phases of their care. Navigators ensure that people are connected to the right resources, have all of the information that they need, and get all of the services that are available to them.
Two years ago, JEVS at Home added a Navigator position to assist individuals in completing the complicated enrollment process for State-funded waivers. Angel Rosa de Jesus, Special Projects and Navigation Manager, says that his role of Navigator has expanded far beyond its original intent.
“I do spend a good part of my day providing resources and assistance to people seeking information about state waivers, but I also spend a lot of my time assisting people who have questions about adaptive equipment and resources for home modifications, wish to switch agencies, need information about private pay options, and so many other issues that arise when families are searching for help.”
With so much information out there it is often difficult to know where to turn for advice and guidance. Angel knows the right questions to ask to determine what resources will best serve a client, a family or a caregiver.
“I had so many questions I didn’t know where to begin”, said recent caller Mr. N., “Angel listened to my questions and was able to provide me with valuable information and resources. He explained what my next steps should be. He broke down a complicated process into manageable steps. I’d probably still be searching the internet, instead, we have begun the paperwork to get the help we need”.
Need information, assistance or guidance? Call Angel at 267-298-1668.