In early 2022, Parkinson Society BC introduced a Healthcare Navigator position to the staff of the organization.
What is the purpose of the Healthcare Navigator?
The Healthcare Navigator position is intended to effectively and expediently connect people living with Parkinson's disease (PD) and their carepartners/caregivers with healthcare resources and social services in British Columbia. Through this service, patients and their carepartners/caregivers can obtain the right information and support, so they can better understand and manage challenges that may be faced in living with the disease.
Healthcare navigation involves understanding the system structure, function, types of services, cost, eligibility, and tracking changes that impact healthcare. The responsibility for accessing healthcare systems currently lies with individuals and their families, which can lead to inequities in access to care due to differences in income, education, and energy required to navigate the system.
Navigating the complexity of the healthcare system and available resources is a time-consuming process, especially for people managing chronic health conditions like PD. Carepartners/caregivers often take on the responsibility of understanding and accessing health services, while also juggling other responsibilities like providing care, managing households, and working. The Healthcare Navigator acts as a guide and support, helping to ease the load, particularly for older adults who may be struggling with their own health challenges, cognitive difficulties, or limited support from family and friends. Furthermore, accessing health services can be particularly challenging for those living in rural or remote areas of BC, but the Healthcare Navigator can help provide direction.
By providing proactive guidance and support, the Healthcare Navigator aims to facilitate increased understanding, self-management, self-reliance, and an enhanced quality of life for both the person with PD and their carepartners/caregivers.
What can the Healthcare Navigator help with?
The Healthcare Navigator provides assistance to people living with Parkinson’s disease and their carepartners/caregivers by connecting them to various resources and services, such as:
- Access to home & community care offices within the Health Authority, including home care, respite care, equipment, occupational therapy, case management, and facility care
- Private home support services, resources, and residential care in their community
- Future care planning resources, such as independent living, Representation Agreements, health care directives, facility placement, and hospital systems
- Financial resources, such as the disability tax credit and disability benefits
- Assistance accessing community services and resources, such as meal programs and transportation
How can I contact the Healthcare Navigator?
Referrals to the Healthcare Navigator can be made through Parkinson Society BC’s Information & Referral Program. If you think that you can benefit from this service, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-662-3240, or 1-800-668-3330.