Dear Navigators, Social Workers, Administrators, and Clinical Staff,
COVID-19 continues to dominate the news, the planet, and our lives. While many people are successfully able to socially distance, healthcare workers are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis or maintaining their usual clinical responsibilities in a new and most unusual environment. We are caring for our patients under these strange and frightening circumstances while attempting to manage our own compassion fatigue. Truly, it’s an emotionally and physically exhausting experience. I want you to know that the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) is here to support you. We have heard many of your stories—from staffing changes related to the COVID-19 situation to employment furloughs; from rising to the challenge of screening patients for the novel virus to maintaining appointments with cancer survivors via FaceTime. We commend you and admire your dedication to your patients and your profession.
To support your efforts, we have compiled a web-based COVID-19 Navigator Toolkit for you where you can confidently access reliable information. In this toolkit, we have included comprehensive coverage of COVID-19 as it relates to you and patients with cancer. You will learn ways to educate your patients about the virus, reduce their fears, and provide prevention tips. You will find coronavirus FAQs for people with cancer, tips to keep yourself healthy, and much more. I encourage each of you to take advantage of this resource at www.AONNonline.org.
I also want to let you know about a relief program for patients with lung cancer. Our partner in the Cancer Advocacy & Patient Education project, LUNGevity, is offering a new funding resource for patients with lung cancer during the COVID-19 crisis. The Breathe Easier Fund provides emergency funding to patients by offering $500 grants in financial assistance to eligible patients* and their families to support their critical basic needs of food, transportation, and general household bills. Patients can call LUNGevity’s Lung Cancer HELPLine (844-360-5864), a free phone service in partnership with CancerCare, to learn more and apply for support from the Breathe Easier Fund.
Finally, we are adapting to this environment by offering our Midyear Conference as a virtual conference on May 14-17. This will be an excellent experience for all of us as we bring the conference to you. You will have CEU opportunities through your attendance, learn from leading navigation experts, and expand your professional connections through virtual networking! You can register today at www.AONNonline.org.
Thank you for all you do in these trying times. I hope these resources are a help to you in your navigation practice, and I hope to “see” you at our virtual Midyear Conference! Be well and stay safe.
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer; Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Co-Developer
of Work Stride: Managing Cancer at Work, Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions; Co-Founder of AONN+.
*Qualifications for emergency funding:
- Patients must be in active treatment, or actively pursuing treatment, for lung cancer.
- The patient’s household income does not exceed 300% of the Federal Poverty Level; however, special consideration will be given to those who are recently unemployed or furloughed as a result of COVID-19.
- Patient must be a United States resident and be receiving care for lung cancer in the United States.