Patient Navigation

Patient navigation is a process by which an individual—a patient navigator—guides patients with HIV through and around barriers in the complex care system to help ensure timely diagnosis and treatment. Barriers to quality HIV care fall into a number of categories:

•Financial and economic

•Language and cultural

•Relationship issues

•Health care system

•Transportation

•Bias based on culture/race/age/sexual preference or identity

•Fear

 

Patient navigation helps ensure that patients receive culturally competent care that is also:

•Confidential

•Respectful

•Compassionate

•Mindful of the patient’s safety

AARC Patient Navigation services assist patients to access the full continuum of HIV care from screening to detection, diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. There is no one-size-fits-all template for this program. Rather, AARC services are designed to meet the needs of the individual patient. Patient Navigators are charged with monitoring all of the non-medical aspects of care, including coordinating screenings and medical referrals; providing education to patients about chronic disease; identifying resources related to health insurance, financial assistance, medication, home care and transportation; researching and enrolling patients in applicable clinical trials; and helping patients overcome language and professional barriers.

Too often the positive gains made in being diagnosed early are lost because of a lack of clinical follow-up by the patient. AARC Patient navigators, while collaborating with other members of the HIV care team (eg, physicians, nurses, social workers), guide patients through the health care system and help to prevent and eliminate barriers to quality care and treatment.