Exploring the roles, functions, and background of patient navigators and case managers: A scoping review

By: Kate Kelly, Shelley Doucet, Alison Luke

Patient navigators and case managers are health care workers who aim to provide individualized assistance to patients facing significant health concerns. Although these roles emerged from distinct historical need, the terms are often used interchangeably in the literature and are described to have overlapping functions. Differences in the way that these roles are understood across countries has led to a lack of clarity regarding the exact functions that each offer to patients, caregivers, and the health care system.

This study identified important differences in the functions between patient navigators and case managers. However, there are still many unknowns between the functions of these two roles. Set definitions describing the roles, and allowing for flexibility across different settings, are needed to improve service delivery.

Paediatric patient navigation models of care in Canada: An environmental scan

By: Alison Luke, Shelley Doucet, Rima Azar

This study uncovered how navigator roles are similar across all programs, including advocacy, education, support and assistance in accessing resources from both within and outside the health-care system.

This scan offers a road map of Canadian pediatric navigation programs in order to better inform stakeholders who are either involved in the delivery of pediatric patient navigation programs or planning to implement such a program. Specifically, this scan informed the development of a navigation centre for children with complex health conditions in New Brunswick.

Mixed-Methods Quick Strike Research Protocol to Learn About Children With Complex Health Conditions and Their Families

By: Shelley Doucet, Daniel A. Nagel, Rima Azar, William J. Montelpare, Pat Charlton, Nicky Hyndman, Alison Luke, Roger Stoddard

While advances have been made to improve health care for children with complex health conditions (CCHC), little is known of the needs of these children and their families in the Canadian context.

A mixed-methods multisite research project explored CCHC and their families in two Canadian provinces. This research helped further the understanding of the needs CCHC and their families face, identified gaps and barriers to services for this population, while adapting and testing the application of a computerized algorithm to yield information on CCHC.

This research project provided the foundation for an innovative service model of care, NaviCare/SoinsNavi, and spawned additional outcomes such as a secondary analysis of the data to describe interprofessional collaboration for CCHC.

Falling Through the Cracks: Barriers to Accessing Services for Children with Complex Health Conditions and their Families in New Brunswick

By: Pat Charlton, Rima Azar, Alison Luke, Shelley Doucet, William Montelpare, Daniel Nagel, Nicky Hyndman, and Kate Thompson

Access to a wide range of services is essential for children with complex health conditions and their families to ensure family-centred care that promotes positive outcomes. Despite this, these families often experience difficulties accessing the services they  require. This study examined the services available and the barriers to accessing these services in New Brunswick, Canada. This research involved conducting an environmental scan of services and semi-structured interviews with nineteen families and sixty-seven stakeholders from the health, social, and education sectors. The researchers identified a wide range of services available to children with complex health conditions and their families. Barriers to accessing services were identified and organized into three  categories: (1) service availability, (2) organizational, and (3) financial. These findings will inform policy and practice to improve services for these families.