Zimmer Cancer Center Launches Lay Navigation Program to Support Patients

March 14, 2019
Lay Navigation volunteers 600w

NHRMC recently launched a Lay Navigation Program at Zimmer Cancer Center to help identify barriers to care and link patients to available cancer resources.

“Cancer patients have needs that go far beyond their immediate medical care,” said Nora Landry, Manager of Oncology Operations at the Zimmer Cancer Center. “They might need help with paperwork, transportation, language barriers or insurance questions. Our Lay Navigators can help them find the resources they need, so they can focus their strength and energy on their recovery efforts.”

The UNC Model of Lay Patient Navigation is supported by a grant from The Duke Endowment.  The goal is to improve cancer outcomes by implementing this program in 11 hospitals and cancer care facilities across NC.  The Advisory Board, a national health care consulting firm, rates this program as one of three best practices of patient navigation in the United States.

The NHRMC Lay Navigation program is staffed by volunteers, many with healthcare experience. This allows them to operate as a liaison between the medical care team and the patient.

The primary goals of the Lay Navigators are:

  • Provide information about hospital services and community resources
  • Assist with completing grant applications, disability forms
  • Offer emotional support to patients and caregivers
  • Facilitate understanding and guide patients through the Zimmer Cancer Center

Landry related a story about how one patient had forgotten their prescription glasses when they arrived for treatment, and the Lay Navigator was able to help the patient fill out the required paperwork.

The volunteers are specially trained through a partnership with the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Four volunteers have completed training, and seven more are currently in training.

 “We are happy to offer this helpful program to our community,” Landry said.  “We have already seen the value of this additional support for our patients.”

Currently, the Lay Navigation Program is serving patients in Gynecologic Oncology and Head & Neck with plans to expand in the future.

The program is coordinated through NHRMC Volunteers. For additional information about volunteering, please contact Janice McSweeney at 667.6578.

Pictured: Lay Navigation volunteers Thyra Zambuto, Sue Wright, and Betsy Randall-David.