Vickie Arlt, RN, BSN
Vickie is especially good at meeting patients where they are, meeting patients’ communication styles and needs, and making patients feel comfortable, which is what ultimately led to saving this patient’s life.
—Mandy Passmore, RN, BSN, CMSRN Director, Oncology Navigation Operations
A CATCH is a navigation success story where a navigation tactic improved a patient’s situation. The CATCH Initiative, short for Catching & Addressing Threats to Care & Health, tracks and acknowledges positive outcomes of navigation tactics.
THE CATCH OF THE MONTH
Background: During a routine post-op touchpoint, a breast cancer patient reported a persistent cough.
The Incident: Vickie, a breast oncology nurse navigator, assessed a patient for a post-op touchpoint and noted the patient had a persistent cough she attributed to asthma. Utilizing triage skills over the phone, the navigator’s evaluation indicated the patient could have something more serious, and she made the appropriate follow-up steps for further assessment.
The CATCH (Intervention): The navigator, recognizing the possibility of a post-op complication, immediately alerted the patient’s surgeon for further evaluation. The surgeon reached out to the patient and directed her to the emergency department for further workup for fear of a possible pulmonary embolism. After some time had passed, Vickie contacted the patient to ensure she followed the surgeon’s recommendation. The patient stated she believed it was just her asthma and that she was too busy with her young children to make a trip to the emergency department.
The navigator reinforced the education provided by the surgeon, worked through the childcare and transportation barriers by connecting with the patient’s mom, and the patient was able to go to the emergency department. Once at the hospital, the patient was diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary embolisms and admitted for treatment. She ultimately made a full recovery and was able to continue active treatment for cancer.
The Importance of the CATCH
This navigator not only caught a life-threatening post-op complication but she also went above and beyond to remove barriers to ensure the patient received appropriate and timely care. Through her persistence and navigation skills, she exemplified the role of a navigator and advocate for her patient’s best interest and best medical outcome.