Financial Navigation: Staff Perspectives on Patients' Financial Burden of Cancer Care
Purpose: To describe perceptions of financial navigation staff concerning patients' cancer-related financial burden.
Methods: This qualitative descriptive study used a semi-structured interview guide to examine perceptions of financial navigation staff concerning patients' cancer-related financial burden. Staff who provided financial navigation support services to cancer patients were interviewed from different types of cancer programs across seven states representing rural, micropolitan, and urban settings. Interviews lasted approximately one hour, were audio recorded, and transcribed. Transcripts were double coded for thematic analysis.
Results: Thirty-five staff from 29 cancer centers were interviewed. The first theme involved communication issues related to patient and financial navigation staff expectations, timing and the sensitive nature of financial discussions. The second theme involved the multi-faceted impact of financial burden on patients, including stress, difficulty adhering to treatments, and challenges meeting basic, non-medical needs. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: Cancer-related financial burden has a profound impact on cancer survivors' health and non-health outcomes. Discussions regarding cancer-related costs between cancer survivors and healthcare team members could help to normalize conversations and mitigate the multi-faceted determinants and effects of cancer-related financial burden. As treatment may span months and years and unexpected costs arise, having this discussion regularly and systematically is needed.