Saturday, August 5, 2017

Navigating for the Journey

Learning about Navigators

Driving to Mercy hospital to visit my wife Bobbie in February 2010 I found myself in a frustrating situation. I could not find out what was going on medically between various doctors and specialists. Then a bill board lit up with the word Navigators. At Mercy hospital they help guide you through the medical maze. When I arrived at the hospital I immediately went in search of a navigator, but not everyone knew about them. I had to persist until I met one in person. In short order she went to work helping me find answers. I found out what the oncologists were planning to do.

During the remaining days of Bobbie’s life the Navigator continued to keep me informed and up to date across the various specialties and treatments. The service was a Godsend.

I have since learned there are Navigators out in the community helping, for example, diabetics monitor and follow diet instructions to maintain better blood sugar levels. Apparently they work with doctors outside the walls of a hospital to keep patients on track and avoid hospitalization.

Today the term Navigators turned up in a New York Times article about the successful program in Phoenix where Navigators are helping the homeless veterans make the transition back into society. They have a 95% success rate. 

I was recently a novice Navigator for a person who found himself just a month away from being homeless. I have gone with him to see a social worker to learn about what is available for getting a job, financial assistance, and to maintain oneself while unemployed. The system is fragmented with many who want to help. As a detective you find who is cooperating where access is not easy.

Every congressman and every parishioner should go with a person to see the maze of agencies and non profits that claim to make a difference. I don't happen to be depressed but one could easily be depressed when you face the maze of options with no guarantee for results. It takes energy to run the gauntlet. 

I am in the middle of yet another journey where a navigator would really be helpful. There is more to learn not only for myself but for others who need a safety net. In the meantime I continue my on the job training as a unofficial Navigator. I already see this may be one of the side bars for Community Befrienders. I even have a story of how it might have saved a persons life, literally.

The need is great and the laborers are few.

In the Name of Christ who calls us into Action,
Marlin Whitmer
Jan 1, 2014 - dad was found dead at a bus stop in Phoenix ... was homeless and disconnected from all those who cared ... a place he can call home in Chandler, AZ .... How Community Bridges' Navigatorsare Helping Others & Giving Back.

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