Hoots Faced Fear of Chemotherapy with Navigation
When Linda Hoots arrived at the CVMC Infusion Center in December for what
she understood to be iron infusions, she felt blind-sided to learn that
she would, in fact, be getting the first of 18 chemotherapy sessions.
That’s when Deanna Griffie, RN OCN intervened to help steer Hoots
through the medical system maze. Over the six months of chemotherapy treatment,
Griffie helped her understand her diagnosis and alleviate her fears.
“She was the one who answered all of the questions I was trying
to figure out and helped me overcome the fear and confusion, coordinating
each of the following steps for me,” says Hoots, 68 years old, who
lives in Newton. “She took me to the cancer resource center to talk
and explained the side effects of chemotherapy and helped me reschedule
the first chemotherapy treatment so I could start it after the holidays.”
Nurse Navigators are part of a growing field of caregivers who help patients
make informed medical decisions and assist with setting up multiple doctors’
appointments, help patients understand test results, treatment regimens
and offer emotional support.
“It is not uncommon for cancer patients like Linda to need support
and advocacy when faced with complex treatment decisions and follow-up
options. Sometimes patients are simply unable to absorb all of the information
and just need to have someone knowledgeable to help walk with them on
the journey,“ says Griffie.
With access to Hoots’ patient medical records and notes from the
treating physicians, Griffie used pictures and charts to walk Hoots through
the diagnosis and helped her ask questions that had escaped her while
she was digesting the news during her doctor visit. She then gave Hoots
a tour of the Infusion Center and introduced her to the team of nurses
who would be taking care of her in the following months.
Hoots said that having Griffie’s support immediately calmed her
down. She sings praises about the compassionate care she gets at CVMC’s
Comprehensive Cancer Center. “When they told me, ‘Linda, we
will take care of you,’ it gave me the desire to fight.”