Nurse Stories: Amy
By Lash Group |
Once you know about the diagnosis, what do you do? You'd likely have a million questions about the condition, the options to treat it and how to pay for it all.
As a nurse navigator with Lash Group, Amy helps caregivers navigate both the emotional and practical challenges that come with a rare disease diagnosis. Her goal: to improve medication adherence, enhance caregivers' confidence in the treatment and offer greater peace of mind for patients.
A guiding light during dark and scary timesEvery day, Amy makes and receives calls from caregivers whose children have received prescriptions for a genetic and deadly form of muscular dystrophy. The rare form affects about 1 in 5,000 male babies and can cause muscle weakness and mobility problems.
Amy's work is part of a medication adherence program that helps support patients and their families as they navigate options and gain treatment for this disease. She collaborates with an eight-nurse team to help caregivers get their children started on the medication and stay on it.
"They're navigating scary territory," Amy says. "Some of them just recently learned of their child's diagnosis. Others have been living with it for a while. In both scenarios, I'm proud to be a source of comfort and support."
Patient-centric care with every callIn the most emotionally trying times, nurse navigators fill in the blanks for their patients and their caregivers. Whether they need help tracking their drug shipments or assistance filing an insurance appeal, Amy and her colleagues are the calm, reassuring voices on the other end of the phone.
That support comes in many forms across Lash Group's patient support services—from monthly outbound calls to frequent follow-up and coordination with physicians and pharmacies on patients' behalf. Amy and her team also staff a nurse triage line, fielding questions about symptoms, dosages and more.
"When you pick up that phone, you never know what you're going to get—what problem or concern you might need to solve," Amy says. "But I know that I'm in a unique position to help, so I do. And that's why I became a nurse in the first place: I've always been someone who wants to make someone's day a little better."
"No matter the client, program or drug, we all know that the work we do is profoundly important. I'm happy to do it."
Medication adherence with a personal touchWhen Amy joined Lash Group's clinical services, she had already amassed more than 20 years of clinical and case management experience in a variety of areas, from direct patient care to home health, insurance case management and clinical research.
"I see myself as an advocate for my patients and their caregivers," she says. "Whenever I'm on the phone with caregivers—which, between inbound and outbound calls, is often—I say so. I tell them I'm their person, that I'll be with them throughout this journey."
She approaches each family with an empathetic ear and a determined plan to help them get their child the medication they need.
"I educate them about the disease, ask and answer questions about their child's medication and adherence, and walk through their financial options, from copays and insurance authorizations to payment programs," she said. "We have a lot of parents who are scared. They're just dealing with the newness of everything and don't know what to expect. I tell them all that I will be their advocate, that I'm going to help them through this process."
Helping patients feel like people, not statisticsOf course, Amy's story resembles that of other nurse navigators at Lash Group working with different patient populations, adherence programs and drug types. Some navigators assist adult patients or those diagnosed with other chronic diseases, such as cancer or autoimmune disorders.
"No matter the client, program or drug, we all know that the work we do is profoundly important," she says. "I'm happy to do it."
As a lifelong nurse and a devoted mom of four, Amy knows that healthcare can be stressful and confusing, especially for parents of very sick children.
"If I can demystify that a little—make daily life a little easier to understand and help them feel more like people and less like statistics—then I know I've done something really special," she says.