Ticket-to-rideMargaret Rummel, BSN, MHA, OCN, oncology nurse navigator, serves as a catalyst for many patients seeking life-saving care at the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC). She and her colleagues in Patient and Family Services help overcome barriers to necessary medical treatment, such as problems with transportation and lodging, and financial and insurance concerns.

“We treat patients from a wide geographic area who often cannot commute or need lodging while they’re here,” said Rummel. Indeed, some patients -– like those undergoing bone marrow transplants -- can be in the area for several months. Others, such as those with head and neck cancer, could require six or seven weeks of radiation treatment at the ACC, five or six days a week.

For many of these patients whose health or financial state prevents them from getting to their appointments, Penn Rides: Transportation Assistance for ACC Patients at Hope Lodge provides a crucial connection to their cancer care. The initiative, funded by a Penn Medicine CAREs grant, pays for cab or train fare for some patients who would not be able to reach their appointment otherwise. Hope Lodge, which includes 38 rooms for patients and their caregivers, offers a volunteer-run van with very limited hours — making the Penn Medicine CAREs funding valuable when no alternative is available.

Against the physical, emotional, and financial toll of cancer, Rummel and other navigators see the program as one less thing for patients to worry about. “It is a supplement to the processes we have in place to keep our patients safe and getting the care they need,” said Rummel. “We’re all a team in this. We want to make sure our patients get the best possible outcomes and see how we can make this experience the best it can be for them.”

Photo caption: Peg Rummel with Hope Lodge manager Byron Barksdale.

Apply for a Penn Medicine CAREs Grant

Do you volunteer your time to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve? If so,  your organization might be eligible for one of Penn Medicine CAREs grants, which are awarded quarterly. click here to apply. The deadline for the next grant is June 1.

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