ASCF provides cancernavigation services to families from Houston and out-of-town who are seeking cancer care in the Texas Medical Center.
What is an ASCF Cancer Family Navigator? ASCF Cancer Family Navigators are volunteers trained to help guide families through the cancer journey. Our Cancer Family Navigators can help families successfully traverse the cancer landscape by providing assistance with note taking and facilitating communication between families and the healthcare team. They can accompany families to clinic visits and share information about cancer resources that may be available. ASCF Cancer Family Navigators can help families make sure that they have the information they need in a format and language they can understand in order to be able to make educated choices regarding cancer care. Visits with ASCF Cancer Family Navigators may be in person or over the phone and when appropriate correspondence may take place via email or text.
What does it take to be an ASCF Cancer Family Navigator? Many of our ASCF Cancer Family Navigators have been patients or have had loved ones affected by cancer. Some are retired social workers or nurses. None are serving in a professional healthcare capacity for ASCF but rather offer their volunteer services in an effort to guide families affected by cancer in order to help ease some of the burden associated with the cancer journey.
Volunteers serving as ASCF Cancer Family Navigators must be patient, have great attention to detail as well as an excellent command of the English language. They must use discretion and be willing to sign a confidentiality statement as some information revealed by patients may be sensitive in nature. Navigators must be willing to attend a scheduled ASCF Cancer Family Navigator training and to shadow and be shadowed by a more experienced navigator for a period of time to be determined based on the volunteer's previous experience. Navigators must be able to communicate clearly and be willing to ask healthcare professionals to clarify medical jargon and terminology if needed. They must be capable of taking detailed notes of each encounter.
Navigators must have flexibility on days they are scheduled to volunteer as cancer care can be unpredictable and they must be able to provide their own transportation to and from the hospital (parking is reimbursable). These volunteers must be willing to learn, listen, and more than anything have a heart for serving others.
What do ASCF Cancer Family Navigators NOT do? ASCF Cancer Family Navigators do not serve in a professional healthcare capacity. They do not provide medical advice or opinion. They do not offer or provide clinical services. They do not drive patients to and from appointments. While many are bilingual, ASCF's Cancer Family Navigators do not serve as certified medical language interpreters.
Could your family benefit from having a Cancer Family Navigator? If you think that your family may benefit from having a Cancer Family Navigator: