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ARC: Access to Resources in the Community

Some people living with health problems require extra support to properly manage their conditions, as family doctors are only able to spend limited time in the office with these patients. There are many resources and programs in the community that can provide the necessary time and support for these patients, yet many patients are unaware that such resources exist. Patient navigators have been shown to be useful in helping patients with certain conditions (such as cancer) to get to the resources they need, especially when they have social challenges that make it difficult for them to reach these programs (for example, language or transportation barriers, poverty, or poor social support). This study will look at how helpful Navigators are to link patients at family doctors’ offices to community resources. To do this, family doctors’ offices in Ottawa and Sudbury will be recruited. All offices will receive training on referring patients to community resources, and half of these (intervention) will have a Navigator assigned to the practice. This study will assess whether access to a Navigator increases patients’ access to community health social and services.  In addition, the study aims to understand whether English and French speaking individuals are as likely to benefit from a Navigator in accessing community health and social services in the language of their choice. The ARC project is funded by The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Community Based Primary Health Care Team Grant SPOR initiative and The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Ontario SPOR Support Unit, in support of the Working Group on Ontario’s Francophone Communities.