2017 Award: Link Volunteer Navigator Program
Collaborating partners: St. Joseph Mercy Health System Cancer Centers, Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor and the American Cancer Society
Project description/outcomes: This volunteer program, based on the evidence-based Lay Health Advisor model, was developed initially in 2008. When St. Joseph Mercy Health System received a grant in 2014, this program grew to reach 779 of patients and caregivers, and was further extended in 2015 to include St. Joseph Mercy Brighton, Canton and Chelsea community cancer centers. The annual goal was to reach at least 1,600 patients and that number was far exceeded. All three partner organizations collaborate to provide a comprehensive training to new volunteers, which, in addition to a thorough overview of psychosocial needs and resources, includes dedicated units on effective communication and cultural competence. Trainings and ongoing oversight by the program coordinator offer volunteers the opportunity to practice skills such as active listening, problem-solving and empathetic communication. When a volunteer meets with a patient and/or their family, the volunteer introduces them to all three organizations by offering brochures and information. For example, the American Cancer Society (ACS) offers a free “Personal Health Manager Kit” to any one diagnosed with cancer. The kits are diagnosis specific and provide both educational materials related to a patients specific type of cancer as well as a filing system for patients to keep track of paperwork related to their cancer. American Cancer Society also offers transportation assistance, resource referrals, insurance assistance and other programs. From the Cancer Support Community (CSC), patients receive the current program calendar which shows them all the free psychosocial support programs offered, including support groups, exercise and stress management, educational workshops, and more. And finally, patients receive a St. Joseph Mercy Cancer Center Support brochure which talks about oncology social work, nurse navigation program, nutrition program, and more. When a patient is interested in receiving an ACS kit, speaking to a CSC staff member for individual psychosocial needs assessment, or other referrals, the volunteer helps them complete a standardized referral form which is faxed to ACS and CSC. This is essentially how volunteers “Link” patients to all the partners. From 2014 through August, 2017, 969 referral forms were completed with 3995 contacts being made. While some patients see volunteers multiple times during the course of their treatment, each contact is counted to show each touch made.
Learn more: Jordan Sheppard-Cusumano Phone: 734-712-3113 Email: email@example.com
2013 Award:Community Implementation of F.O.C.U.S. for People Touched by Cancer
The Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor collaborated with the University Of Michigan School Of Nursing to carry out the FOCUS program. The FOCUS Program is a familybased intervention that provides information and support to cancer patients and their family caregivers together, as the unit of care. It addresses five core components: Family involvement, Optimistic attitude, Coping effectiveness, Uncertainty reduction, and Symptom management. A major goal of this partnership was to determine if the successful original, home-based FOCUS Program could be translated to a more cost effective group format and implemented in the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor community setting. The program consisted of six weekly two-hour group sessions delivered by a master’s level social worker employed by the Cancer Support Community. The results from the group-delivered, community-based FOCUS Program were similar to the individual, home-based program and included significant changes in the quality of life from pre to post-intervention for both cancer patients and their family caregivers. More specifically, both patients’ and caregivers’ emotional wellbeing, functional wellbeing, and self-efficacy improved following program participation.