WCCH Launches Innovative, New Program To Aid Breast Cancer Patients
West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH) is pleased to announce that it is the first hospital in the area to launch a specialized program focused on the treatment of breast cancer patients – the Breast Health Navigator Program. The concept is practiced in many areas throughout the country and has proven beneficial to those receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. WCCH's program was developed in mid-2012 and has quickly gained the support of many physicians in the community because of its specialized focus.
According to Angie Jones, R.N., CBPN-I, breast health navigator, the WCCH Breast Health Navigator Program has many goals. "A diagnosis of any kind is life-changing,” says Jones. "One of our main goals is to be available to the patient regardless of the time of day or concern. We're here to provide patient education and one-on-one support, and to help eliminate barriers to care.”
In their role, breast health navigators ensure that all patients with suspicious findings receive timely resolution to those findings. "Nothing can be more frightening than knowing an abnormality was found during your exam, and waiting to find out if the abnormality could indeed be cancerous,” says Rhonda Ryker, BSRT (R)(M), CBPN-I, breast health navigator. "We work to streamline appointments and paperwork so that if something comes back positive, the issue is resolved promptly and the patient isn't left waiting or wondering where to go or who to turn to next.”
Breast health navigators, usually registered nurses or other clinical health professionals, educate patients, act as the single point of contact for the patient, and provide support and links to community resources. They help establish/facilitate doctor and consult appointments, and keep patients' physicians updated on their progress.
Since its inception at WCCH, more than 29 patients have used the program. Carol Pettyjohn was one of those patients and is a strong advocate of the program. During her sessions with the hospital's breast health navigators, Pettyjohn was provided with information on programs and resources developed to assist breast cancer patients—programs like the Ethel Precht Hope Program and resources like the American Cancer Society and the hospital's monthly "Pink Crusade” breast cancer support group meetings. "The compassion I was shown allowed me to finally release the deeply emotional feelings that had been suppressed until that point,” she says. "To know that I had 24/7 access to each of the ladies who are part of the program provided me with the support and courage I needed to fight.”