Building a Pipeline of Community Care Navigators to Support People with Advanced Illnesses and their Caregivers


AC Care Navigators

Care Navigators with PHI's AC CARE Alliance are recruited as trusted, compassionate and capable community members to work alongside people who have advanced illnesses and their caregivers, helping them address their needs, provide resources and empower them in navigating the healthcare system.

People living with advanced illness and their caregivers can sometimes feel overwhelmed and may not have the resources or information they need. In particular, African American and Latinx communities face some of the greatest health disparities due to longstanding discrimination, racism and other social determinants of health, and this can result in increased risk of serious illness and poor quality end-of-life care.

PHI’s AC CARE Alliance Advanced Illness Care Program™ (ACCA-AICP) is a faith-based, person-centered, lay care navigation intervention serving predominantly African American adults with advanced illness and their caregivers, as well as other communities of color across the state. It is free of charge and respects the needs and wishes of the participant, whatever their culture and faith.

Building Trust, Sharing Resources: The Critical Role of Care Navigators

Care Navigators are a critical aspect of the ACCA-AICP model, working alongside participants to provide trusted referrals, resources and tools to empower them to achieve their identified goals within the program’s Five Cornerstones: spiritual, health (physical and emotional), social, advance care planning and caregiving.

Through a series of 5 to 12 in-person meetings and phone conversations over a period of about 6 months, the Care Navigator helps participants meet their advanced illness care needs and links them to resources, including spiritual support, food, housing, transportation, health care, advance care planning, hospice and more.

In addition, Care Navigators provide participants with tools, enhanced skills and empowerment for more efficient, improved communication with their clinicians and other health care providers.

Besides information, you get navigation. You get the information, but being able to be like, okay, this is how you put it together. The Care Navigator can help you navigate the system, because the system is confusing. ACCA-AICP Participant

Care Navigators are active community members, trained in community outreach and advanced illness care support. They are often from and embedded in the communities they serve, which allows them to play a unique role in building relationships and trust amongst participants, their caregivers and communities at large.

AC CARE Alliance’s model is also building professional pathways for individuals from the communities they serve, helping to support a stronger public health workforce in California that reflects the state’s diverse communities, and is better equipped to meet the world’s pressing health challenges and address inequities.

I was drawn to my work at ACCA because it allows [me] to help those in my community who have been overlooked by so many. As [a] Care Navigator I help advocate for those who can't advocate for themselves and connect them to resources that they didn't know existed. This is done by looking at the whole health, the spiritual, physical, emotional and mental health to make sure all needs are met. Tadjelisa Carter, MFA, BA

ACCA-AICP Care Navigator

Sequoia, ACCA
During my 15 years of guiding individuals through their journey of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, I learned that care is not a “one-size-fits-all,” and neither is love. Being given the opportunity to act upon my passion here at AC CARE Alliance is nothing short of a blessing, and to be in someone’s corner is the best place to be! Sequoia Lennier, BS

ACCA-AICP Care Navigator

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