Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem have requested training and employment of a team of Patient NavigatorsEach team will be based permanently at Hadassah Hospital, and will include a psychologist, a social worker and three facilitators. They will cover the most challenging areas of the hospital, including the emergency department, intensive care units, general floors and haematological oncology divisions.

Together, these hospitals treat more than 75% of the Palestinian children from the West Bank and Gaza.

The Patient Navigators will guide patient and caregiver during the interface with the treating medical staff, overcoming language and cultural obstacles that could disrupt care. The team will assist patients and caregivers understand the often complex processes involved in their treatment. They will also make the work of medical staff easier thereby saving valuable time. It is quite common for Palestinian children and their caregivers from the West Bank and Gaza to spend months in an Israeli hospital.  It might be due to the seriousness of their illness and the necessity for continued hospitalisation, or it could be due to security concerns and the difficulty in accessing multiple entry permits.

Many arrive at Israeli hospitals speaking only Arabic. While all of Israel’s major hospitals employ staff from diverse backgrounds, Arabic-speaking health professionals are not always available when unfamiliar medical terminology is used. This can be particularly terrifying for young patients. It can compound their anxiety and sense of isolation, especially when they require extended periods in hospital, away from family and friends. Despite the compassion and professionalism of medical staff, it can impact on the efficient delivery of medical care.