What is Care Navigation

Why it is important

Effective navigation is a key element of delivering coordinated, person-centered care and support.  ‘Care navigators’ can play a crucial role in helping people to get the right support, at the right time to help manage a wide range of needs. This may include support with long term conditions, help with finances and signposting to a range of statutory and voluntary sector services. 

A person providing care navigation is usually based in a multidisciplinary team, helps to identify and signpost people to available services, acting as link workers.  The person who provides care navigation is therefore an important (though alone not sufficient) lynch-pin or enabler to achieving integrated care provision.

From an individual perspective, people who provide care navigation build relationships, problem solve and help locate resources, serving as a link between community, health and social services. They advocate the needs of people, they are enabling and focused on recovery, to strengthen the work of the multidisciplinary team. A key purpose is to ensure patients experience seamless, joined up care and support.

Care navigation is and needs to be part of all staffs’ work ethos and duty, rather than restricted to a specific role.  Care Navigation, therefore, may be best considered as a process or intervention rather than a specific role for one specific person in one setting, and needs to be able to take place across the whole spectrum of the individual’s journey, a ‘link worker’ to enable a ‘seamless’ pathway.

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