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Pathfinders uses these four program components with patients:

  • Pathfinder-Patient Relationship: The Pathfinder and patient establish a mutually-respectful relationship of trust, open communication, and rejuvenating dialogue. The Pathfinder uses a range of patient education methods to teach coping skills endorsed by cancer survivors.
  • Support Groups: Groups create a sense of belonging and provide a setting in which to learn from survivors and improve an individualized plan of self-care.
  • Self-Care: The patient restarts previous nutrition or exercise regimens that had been discontinued with the onset of cancer. They learn new ways of strengthening their body through fitness and healthy foods. They also hear about and use complementary therapies recommended and approved by their oncologist that will help counteract some of debilitating physical effects of their illness and treatment.
  • Life Review: The Pathfinder works with the patient to help restore life meaning that has been eroded by the prospect of a potentially terminal illness and a life-altering treatment process. Together, they focus on living fully.

Pathfinders uses these four program components with the patient’s environment:

  • Caregiver and Family Relationship: The patient works with the Pathfinder to develop a mutually respectful relationship with the persons closest to them so they can translate their concerns into helpful action that support their personal recovery.
  • Treatment Team and Institution: The Pathfinder assists the medical and nursing providers and administrators and staff within Duke as they establish their own goals to meet the patient and family’s social and psychological needs. Pathfinders are proactive, diplomatic facilitators of this process.
  • Volunteers: With the Pathfinder, volunteers assist the patient in meeting basic needs including transportation requirements. The volunteers expose the patient to the unique benefits of a relationship with a cancer survivor.
  • The Community: Home health providers, hospice workers, employers, and other interested individuals can work with the Pathfinder to learn how they can contribute to an individual patient’s personal recovery. Pathfinders advise congregations, social groups, and cancer advocates on how to take action and how the community as a whole can support persons with cancer.