Cancer Resource Advocate

The executive directors from The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing (Lewiston), Cancer Community Center (South Portland), and Beth C Wright Cancer Resource Center (Ellsworth) have been working together over the last 18 months to find ways to collaborate in order to assist more cancer patients throughout the state of Maine without duplicating services. Together, these three organizations are committed to the development of resources to both sustain and increase the capacity to meet the needs of the cancer community that each serves, as well as the state of Maine as a whole.

In brainstorming sessions, all three executive directors identified assisting cancer patients and caregivers with their questions about financial resources, available support services, and other cancer-related resources as a huge need. Individuals often phone and email the centers desperate for help - especially in finding financial resources for immediate needs. There are a myriad of resources available from local, regional, state and national organizations; the three partner organizations are not able to meet the need of the patient requests currently coming into each organization.

About the role of the Cancer Resource Advocate (CRA): 
  • The CRA will be available to anyone impacted by cancer via a toll-free phone line, email or oneon-one appointments if applicable, and will connect clients with resources (local, regional, state and national), especially financial resources, to meet their needs. 
  • The CRA will assist with questions related to transportation/gas cards, heating oil assistance, social security disability, contacts at their treatment facility, websites for cancer-specific information, local cancer support programs, seeking a buddy, oncology trained massage therapists, oncology trained exercise specialists, funds for car repair or equipment needed after cancer surgery (ex. ramp or iPad for talking), etc.
  • The CRA will be filling a gap in services for the target populations (listed above), since many individuals in these populations do not have access to an oncology social worker or a patient navigator as they will not be in a treatment center. For those who do have such access, the CRA will shorten the time it takes to connect to existing resources.
  • The CRA will be part of the Dempsey Center staff with office space in the Dempsey Center (Lewiston, Maine).
  • This will be a full-time position with benefits.
  • The CRA will be supervised by the psychosocial manager at the Dempsey Center.
  • The CRA will facilitate quarterly meetings with the steering committee consisting of a representative from each of the collaborating organizations: the Dempsey Center, Cancer Community Center, and Beth C Wright Cancer Resource Center. (The operational goals and objectives of this committee to be determined at first meeting.)
  • The CRA will oversee the creation and maintenance of a client database to track all individuals who are assisted by the CRA.
  • The CRA will create an assessment tool to determine the needs and eligibility of clients seeking assistance.
  • In collaboration with the MCF, the CRA will update the MCF Resource Directory as appropriate. The directory categories to be determined by the steering committee an in collaboration with MCF.
  • The CRA will reach out to all cancer treatment programs in the state as well as cancer support organizations to determine who the contact people are within the program and what services are provided. (This will be added to the MCF Resource directory and will be updated at a minimum of once per year.)
  • The CRA will follow up on all Maine Fund for Cancer Patients" (MFFCP) applications.
  • The CRA will get the word out about this navigation service by providing rack cards/post cards to all cancer treatment programs & cancer support programs in the state; create a PSA and disseminate around state for inclusion on radio stations, especially in the rural parts of the state; seek opportunities for interviews with newspapers, magazines, radio talk shows and TV PSAs, etc. 
In connecting patients/families with resources, the following steps will be completed by the CRA: 
  1. Patient or family accesses the CRA via phone, email or in person. 
  2. CRA assesses the needs of the patient/family by filling out a short assessment form.
  3. CRA determines the highest need(s) of the patient/family and researches the options available.
  4. CRA assists the patient/family with accessing the resource(s) which could include: assisting with an application, making an appointment with an appropriate resource provider (such as an oncology social worker, social security administration official, patient financial services staff, downloading information from a website, compiling applicable printed resources (to be mailed), etc.
  5. CRA follows up with client to determine if need was meet. (Short evaluation is completed.)
  6. New resources discovered through this process will be added to the MCF Resource directory. "The MFFCP is a fund created by the Dempsey Center to help Maine cancer patients who are either currently undergoing cancer treatment or within 6 months of completing their treatment meet an immediate need such as heating oil, food, car repair, gas, etc. 
Organization: 
The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope And Healing
Grant Amount Given: 
$48,291
Year Issued: 
2014
Period: 
Spring
Grant Category: 
Support
Types of Cancer: 
All

Maine Cancer Foundation Grants to this Organization:

Year Program Amount Category Organization
2016 Sun Safety on the Slopes $5,750 Prevention The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing
2016 Maine Fund for Cancer Patients $4,000 Transportation The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing
2015 The Maine Fund for Cancer Patients $4,000 Transportation The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing
2015 Tobacco Treatment, Prevention, and Control in Androscoggin County $40,000 Education The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing
2014 Cancer Resource Advocate $48,291 Support The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope And Healing
2012 Space to Breathe $3,000 Support The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing