Q: WHAT IS ENTAILED IN STARTING A NAV-CARE PROGRAM?
A: The first step is to contact Barb Pesut or Wendy Duggleby to have a conversation about the suitability of NavCARE for your organization. An implementation toolkit is available along with other resources including an invitation letter template for prospective advisory committee members, an advisory committee terms of reference template, a community presentation, and a program sustainability guide. You will also receive the Nav-CARE Volunteer Learning Manual based on navigation competencies, and a Train the Trainers’ Toolkit, which includes a facilitator’s guide, training agenda, training PowerPoints, training case studies, community resource guide template, client visit form, and evaluation tools.
Q: WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE PROGRAM?
A: Nav-CARE was designed to meet the needs of older persons who are living at home, either independently or with family. The most important eligibility criteria for the program is that the senior feels they need assistance and that they would benefit from having regular visits from a volunteer. We have found that those older persons who are becoming frail or isolated benefit the most.
Q: HOW DOES THIS PROGRAM FIT WITHIN THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM?
A: Healthcare systems play an important role for older persons living with serious illness. However, globally the most innovative programs are also acknowledging the importance of communities and neighbours to supporting those living with serious illness. This is often referred to as a compassionate community approach to care. We know that even though healthcare systems are essential, the vast majority of care is provided by friends and family. Specially trained volunteers can play an important role in helping to facilitate communities to care better for their own.
Q: HOW IS THE ROLE OF THE VOLUNTEER NAVIGATOR DIFFERENT FROM HEALTHCARE NAVIGATORS?
A: Healthcare navigation is performed most often by nurses and social workers. These individuals are usually part of the publicly funded healthcare system; although for-profit navigation programs are becoming more common. Volunteer navigations perform a very different role than healthcare navigators. They are concerned primarily with improving quality of life. They focus on those practical day to day necessities that ‘make life more livable.’ They have the time and resources to sit down with older persons, enjoy a cup of tea, and focus on what matters most to them.
Q: WHY IS THIS OFFERED THROUGH HOSPICE SOCIETIES WHEN THESE OLDER PERSONS ARE NOT AT END OF LIFE?
A: Hospice volunteers have a unique skill set in that they are comfortable working with those living with serious illness. However, Nav-CARE is also being implemented through other community-service organizations.
Q: WHAT DO VOLUNTEER NAVIGATORS LEARN?
A: Volunteers are educated according to five main competences: Assessing client and family quality of life; advocating for clients and family; facilitating community connections; supporting access to resources; and promoting active engagement. Volunteers receive ongoing education through monthly teleconference sessions.
Q: HOW IS THE PROGRAM EVALUATED?
A: We measure the satisfaction, quality of life, and confidence of volunteers. We interview older persons and their families about their satisfaction and perceptions of NavCARE and measure their quality of life. We interview organization stakeholders about how Nav-CARE is working within their organization and how it can be improved.
Q: WHAT IS THE LONG-TERM VISION OF NAV-CARE?
A: Our goal is to make NavCARE a free service available in communities across Canada. We believe that Nav-CARE has the potential to improve the quality of life of older persons living with serious illness while helping volunteers to make a meaningful and compassionate contribution to their community.