Developing your program: Derm offers advice for establishing oncology support services

May 1, 2009

Dr. Richey suggests that anyone interested in developing a Brighter Days program follow these recommendations:

Key Points

National report - Dr. Richey suggests that anyone interested in developing a Brighter Days program follow these recommendations:

The first step, according to Dr. Richey, is to call the medical director at the local oncology unit and ask to have a few moments with staff to explain the goal of the program: It is a way to help them enhance their services to patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Dr. Richey makes a PowerPoint presentation available for use.

Dr. Richey says that it is important that this service be offered at the oncology unit, as opposed to a dermatology office, so that it does not appear to be a promotion of a private practice. The program is to be offered at the convenience of and for the care of the cancer patients.

Consider referring the medical director to Dr. Richey and other medical directors already involved. That way, the medical director will learn what a powerful addition Brighter Days would be to the oncology services.

Commitment

Commit one hour per month to the sessions at the oncology center. Due to the nature of the program, a gathering of about eight people is ideal. The purpose is to provide individual consultation.

Develop and post fliers indicating a set time and location. For example, Dr. Richey's sessions are scheduled at 11 a.m. on the first Wednesday of every month.

Discuss Brighter Days with your own staff. You will need two people to assist you during each session.

A great deal of emotion arises during these meetings, as patients relate their personal stories. Your staff will be very much involved as you set up each skincare regimen, and they fill the bags with the products specifically chosen for each patient, Dr. Richey says.

Donations

Ask local vendors to donate commercial-size products - rather than small samples - for distributing to each patient. Dr. Richey does write prescriptions on occasion, especially in the instance of a drug reaction and/or a marked flare of rosacea.

If vendors are invited to sit in on a Brighter Days session, they will witness the kind of emotional support patients need and receive. Dr. Richey says he hasn't had a problem getting vendors to donate commercial-size products.

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