5 Ways Cancer Coordinators Help Premier Health Patients

Cancer is a journey best taken with friends and family at your side. But even your closest friends and family will likely feel lost and ill-prepared to help you through the twists and turns of cancer treatment and care.

That’s why Premier Health provides cancer coordinators to help cancer patients and their loved ones.

Cancer coordinators are registered nurses who are specially trained and certified in cancer care. They hold bachelor’s degrees (in some cases, master’s) and they come alongside cancer patients to guide them every step of the way from diagnosis, on through treatment, to survivorship.

Jean Heath, MA, BSN, RN, OCN, director of nursing and cancer care at Upper Valley Medical Center, explains, “When you get a cancer diagnosis, you may see a surgeon, a radiation oncologist, a medical oncologist. You’ve got all these people coming in and out of your life. If there’s one person who can be a navigator to help you through cancer care, it’s proven to reduce stress and raise survival rates.”

Cancer coordinators help patients in the following ways:

Developing a Trusted Relationship

Premier Health matches each patient with a coordinator who specializes in the patient’s type of cancer. Coordinators meet patients at their doctors’ offices for appointments and meet up with them for chemotherapy and radiation treatment sessions.

As a result, cancer coordinators develop trusting relationships with patients. “Patients have someone they know and can trust through their whole journey,” Heath says. She knows this, not from her 35 years with Premier Health, but as a breast cancer survivor.

She explains that Premier Health cancer coordinators are just a phone call away when patients have concerns or questions about their disease or treatment.

Serving as Navigator

Coordinators guide patients through their course of cancer care. “They follow them along and mentor, coach and educate them each step of the way,” Heath says.

They also connect patients with services that address their specific needs and enhance their well-being and healing. For instance, yoga and relaxation classes, support groups, pain management and nutritional counseling. They also inform patients about clinical research trials of new cancer treatment drugs for their type of cancer. And they help interested patients enroll in trials.

Accompanying into Survivorship

The cancer coordinator-patient relationship continues after treatment ends, into cancer survivorship.

Coordinators stay connected with patients’ physicians so they can be present for patients’ follow-up visits a month, three months, six months and a year after treatment. Heath says that patients can call their cancer coordinator following treatment whenever they have a question.

Assuring Uniform, Quality Care

Cancer coordinators and the cancer care programs of all Premier Health facilities work together to provide uniform, seamless, quality care for patients as they move from one facility to another. For example, Heath says, a patient may have cancer surgery at Miami Valley Hospital but receive chemotherapy at Upper Valley Medical Center because it’s closer to home.

Coordinators help patients transition from one Premier Health facility to another, making sure they get the same quality of care through the entire treatment process.

Connecting to MD Anderson

Premier Health’s cancer coordinators connect patients and their families with new advances in cancer care through Premier Health’s status as a certified member of the MD Anderson Cancer Network®.

Premier Health coordinators teleconference weekly with MD Anderson to learn about new evidence-based practices that are working for various types of cancer. And they can reach out to MD Anderson’s cancer experts to discuss special issues about their patients’ care.

Source: Jean Heath, Director of Nursing and Cancer Care, Upper Valley Medical Center, Premier Health

Content Updated: December 12, 2016

These Premier Health locations offer Cancer Care Services.
Each location may offer different or additional services, so contact a location below to learn more about the specific services they offer.
200 Medical Center Dr. Fourth Floor Middletown, OH  45005
Looking for a specific department or phone number?
Visit one of the above locations for contact information, or browse the Premier Health Directory.
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