Mount Desert Island Hospital will establish a cancer Patient Navigator Program with the help of a three-year grant from the Maine Cancer Foundation. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Grant to improve cancer treatment process

BAR HARBOR — A three-year grant of $161,614 from the Maine Cancer Foundation will help Mount Desert Island Hospital establish a new Patient Navigator Program.

The financial, social and emotional aspects of health care can be overwhelming for a patient dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Even in a community-centered, rural medical environment, a myriad of choices and decisions must be made, and new care providers will be seen for unfamiliar therapies and treatments.

The aim of the program is to give patients a dedicated guide throughout their cancer care journeys, with the goal of seamless transitions at each turn. A registered nurse and a licensed social worker will join hospital staff to serve as a support system for each MDI Hospital cancer patient.

The Patient Navigator Program also will disseminate educational materials to the broader community, encouraging check-ups and screenings to help close gaps in care, and will collaborate with MDI Hospital health care providers to ensure that patients receive clear, integrated services. Ultimately, MDI Hospital seeks to enhance access to best-quality cancer health care for its patient population, specifically alleviating barriers to care (transportation, financial concerns, educational needs) and offering personal guidance and support throughout each patient’s continuum of care.

Maine Cancer Foundation’s grant is offered as part of its ongoing Cancer 2020 initiative, aimed at reducing cancer incidence and mortality 20 percent by 2020. They have awarded nearly $5 million since 2015 in support of this initiative, focused on prevention, early detection and screening, and access to care for all Mainers. Visit or contact Kristen Smith at [email protected] or 773-2533.


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