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Walgreens expands health and beauty support program for patients with cancer.
Feel More Like You, a first-of-its-kind pharmacy, health and beauty service to help people living with cancer manage changes associated with treatment, is now available at more than 3,000 Walgreens stores. The national launch follows a successful 100-store pilot program that began in spring 2018.
The free program was developed in collaboration with Look Good Feel Better Foundation, the leading cancer support organization focusing attention on the appearance and beauty needs of patients with cancer, and Cancer Support Community, the largest professionally led, nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide.
More than 12,000 Walgreens pharmacists have received special training to recommend over-the-counter products to help manage treatment side effects such as skin rash, fatigue, mouth sores and dry mouth. If they learn that a patient is experiencing financial toxicity, they also can offer information about pharmaceutical patient assistance programs, which offer free or discounted medications to those who are financially eligible, as well as look for and apply coupons or fill prescriptions in smaller quantities, said Linda House, president of the Cancer Support Community.
The pharmacists and beauty consultants that are part of the service have completed empathy training from Cancer Support Community to enhance the level of emotional support they can provide. Walgreens employees may ask patients or caregivers what kind of help they need, eliciting responses regarding nutritional guidance, transportation issues or other concerns that can’t be resolved on-site. In those cases, store employees have been instructed to make referrals to Cancer Support Community, House said.
“We have 170 locations around the U.S.,” House said. “We’re the largest employer of licensed mental health professionals for people with cancer in the world. We have face-to-face service (and) a phone helpline manned by licensed mental health and other professionals in finance, genetics and nursing, and we can help patients find clinical trials. We give away $50 million in free services a year. The point of the program is just to get patient and caregiver needs met by the appropriate person.”
In stores, trained beauty consultants can suggest personalized makeup solutions and products that can help patients with hair loss or dry hair, discolored or dry skin, sensitivity to sunlight, and changes to nails and cuticles. Some of this advice also is available online at www.walgreens.com/FeelMoreLikeYou, where those affected by cancer or who know someone facing the disease can also find a participating store.
For instance, to address hair loss, the website offers videos featuring patients’ stories and advice, a tutorial on how to tie a head scarf and another on how to wash a wig. It also offers hand and nail care tips and a skin-moisturizing regimen. In the health arena, it covers problems including constipation, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, taste changes, nausea and vomiting.
“We are pleased to work with Walgreens on this important initiative to bring further and needed support to cancer patients directly at their local pharmacies,” said Louanne Roark, executive director of the Look Good Feel Better Foundation. “Our organization pioneered training techniques to help cancer patients manage the visible side effects of treatment, so the opportunity to train thousands of Walgreens beauty consultants was something we were eager to support.
“We understand that not all people with cancer have a Look Good Feel Better workshop near them,” she continued. “With approximately 10,000 Walgreens locations throughout the U.S., our partnership with Walgreens and the Cancer Support Community enables us to work with them to reach and support women with cancer in more places across the country. It provides an additional, complementary resource in the community where cancer patients live and work, to help them manage the often disruptive and demoralizing appearance side effects of treatment.”
Walgreens also raises funds each year for organizations such as Susan G. Komen, Stupid Cancer and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Other U.S. pharmacy chains, including CVS, Kroger’s and Walmart/Sam’s Club, offer their own programs designed to help patients with cancer. Many of these are in collaboration with the American Cancer Society and involve fundraising and gifting money to support research and housing near hospitals during treatment. CVS also works toward tobacco-free living, Walmart funds screening for breast and colorectal cancers in underserved communities, and Kroger’s funds breast cancer organizations.
Pharmacy Times® staff members contributed to this story.