Cancer patients have to face several months of dealing with a complicated disease and also the uncertainty that came with the COVID-19 Pandemic, which is why the Project: “Women Who Save Lives: Navigation Model for Patients in National and Regional Hospitals”, has been able to detect the barriers that have increased since the Pandemic reached Costa Rica, specifically in patients with breast cancer.
Since Coronavirus appeared in our country, the main barrier presented is the fear of leaving home and attending medical evaluations; which has led to missed appointments that must be rescheduled.
Also, “there continues to be economic barriers, the absence of support networks and it has become more difficult for patients from remote areas to access adequate health care,” explained Marianela Salazar, technical coordinator of the project.
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There are also other emotional problems for patients such as anxiety and uncertainty as to whether their consultations will be by phone, or whether they should attend directly to the doctor`s office.
Once the barrier that the patient is facing has been identified, the situation is channeled with the different health service professionals and the route to follow for the benefit of the patients is established.
“If it is not possible to manage the situation presented, then the patient is informed and this helps to reduce the uncertainty they feel. On other occasions, depending on the circumstances, they are given the telephone number where they can make specific queries or are given information on what they should do to solve their problem,” Salazar said.
From February 2017 to March of this year, the Navigation Model Project has provided support to 4,035 patients diagnosed with breast cancer, and 1,763 are still active as of this month.