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New Call Center Helps Patients “Navigate” Cancer

Mar 29, 2016 08:45AM ● By MED Magazine

Avera Cancer Institute’s new Navigation Center opened in March for patients and families across the health system’s 72,000 mile footprint.

Calls are answered around the clock, seven days a week. From 8 am to 8 pm, the Navigation Center is staffed by registered nurses and social workers and overnight calls are answered by Ask-A-Nurse RNs.

“Our goals are to overcome barriers to care, reduce burdens of cancer and improve access to quality care as we connect people back to resources that are close to home,” says Jamie Arens, Director of the new Avera Cancer Institute Navigation Center.

Reasons for calling the Navigation Center can range from managing symptoms, to finding resources for emotional support, to getting help for the whole family for issues created by the effects of cancer and treatment. Anyone can call the Navigation Center – they do not need to be an Avera patient.

“This offers an added layer of support to connect people to the help they need,” Arens says. The community-based model is designed to connect people to resources such as support groups, transportation resources or physician outreach clinics closest to where they live.

Although the Navigation Center, located on the first floor of the Prairie Center in Sioux Falls, is primarily a call center, it is also equipped to handle anyone who walks in seeking assistance. Navigation staff reach out the following business morning for further follow-up.

Avera has had disease-specific navigators for cancer patients for several years. This new service expands navigation, making it available across the entire Avera service area.