EU NAVIGATE project: AGE supports patient navigators for older people with cancer and their families
AGE Platform Europe participates in a new research project that aims to provide patient navigators to older people with cancer and their families.
Coordinated by the End-of-Life Care Research Group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), EU NAVIGATE will adapt Canada’s existing and successfully-tested NavCARE intervention to 6 EU countries (Belgium, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland and Portugal). NavCARE was created to help older persons living with declining health age safely in their homes by connecting them with volunteers, so called patient navigators. In the EU, these navigators will collaborate with patients and families to improve their quality of life and well-being, foster empowerment, and facilitate timely and equitable access to health and social care services and resources as needed, throughout the supportive and palliative care continuum.
“Cancer disproportionately affects older people. A 60% share of the estimated new diagnoses […] in 2020 occurred in persons aged 65 years and older.” 
As there is a fast-growing number of older people with cancer, it is essential to develop high-quality, equitable, and cost-effective care across the continuum of supportive, palliative, end-of-life, and survivorship care for both cancer patients and their family caregivers. Navigation interventions offer potential to support, educate, and empower patients and to address individual and community barriers to the timely access to the services and resources that they need.
Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness will be evaluated through an international trial, performed across six European countries (Belgium, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland and Portugal) and involving 532 cancer patients aged 70 years and older and their family caregivers. The project wil valuate the project’s pilot navigation system, map already existing navigation systems across Europe and widely consult stakeholders. Ultimately, it will result in the publication of recommendations on the wider implementation of patient navigation in Europe and addressing associated policy needs, targeting European decision-makers as well as the European supportive and palliative care community.
AGE will contribute to this mapping of existing navigation for cancer patients in Europe by identifying relevant country representatives. We will also consult older people’s representatives and their families in user fora to gain insight into the views of our members, with a focus on what matters to older people and how navigators will serve the purpose of good care and good quality of life. The insights gained from the user fora will feed into the policy recommendations.
 Joint Research Centre. (2022). European Cancer Information System: 21% increase in new cancer cases by 2040. Joint Research Centre. https://joint-research-centre.ec.europa.eu/jrc-news/european-cancer-information-system-21-increase-new-cancer-cases-2040-2022-03-16_en#:~:text=Joint%20Research%20Centre-,European%20Cancer%20Information%20System%3A%2021%25%20increase%20in%20new%20cancer%20cases,on%20the%20future%20cancer%20burden.