This year the Junior Committee decided to support a new program — Physician Outreach. I was the lucky one chosen to be the pioneer manager of the project and I feel that I have to share my excitement about our work to date.
The impetus for this new program was established by a careful review of referral sources. The Chapter identified that most area physicians, busy with daily duties of attending to numerous patients and their specific needs, simply were not sufficiently acquainted with the help that the Alzheimer’s Association offers persons with dementia (PWD). While the medical aspects of treating PWD remain solely the charge of the physicians, our mission is to educate these providers on the various facets of the free, non-medical support that our hardworking staff makes possible every day.
To this end, we have developed the Prescription for Care pad, a pad of useful educational slips that enumerate information about our core services such as 24-hour Helpline, Medic Alert + Alzheimer’s Association SafeReturn®, support groups, and education programs. In addition, we have printed materials in three languages that further elaborate our Chapter’s services and, essentially, makes facilitating this connection easier for physicians, medical office staff, PWD, and their families alike. It’s a win–win situation, as long as people know about it.
As Physician Outreach Manager, my role is to make sure that “people know about it”: With a bag full of informational material and a well-thumbed Metro pass, I pound the pavement of New York to connect with the physicians I have identified while methodically developing my database. Neurologists, geriatricians, geriatric neurologists, psychiatrists and primary care physicians: I seek them here, I seek them there, I seek those doctors everywhere! And so far I have done a pretty good job of reaching many. In a way, I’m “selling” the free services of a nonprofit, and I love it. Most physicians have received me with a blend of surprise and delight, thus showing that our initial concerns over the awareness of our work had been well founded.
Just over five months into the program, we’ve distributed nearly 300 prescription pads, many accompanied by literature, and have spoken to physicians in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. We also attended the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Toronto. Day by day, we are educating physicians and office staff about the ways in which we are available to assist patients and respective caregivers to navigate the non-medical challenges inherent with dementia. The responses have been highly rewarding — more evidence that doing a little every day adds up to a lot.
Call to Action!
If you would like to be contacted or would like to refer a medical professional please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our homepage, visit the physician outreach website, and fill out a Physician Submission. A pdf of our Prescription for Care pad (illustrated to the right) is also available to download.
— Nikki Mariano
Physician Outreach Manager