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Nurses champion alternative wrap for radiation patients

Monday May 5, 2014
Amy Deutsch, RN
Amy Deutsch, RN
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Breast cancer challenges not only patients’ health but also their self-esteem. So when nurses involved in helping patients through radiation therapy learned about the Radiant Wrap, they worked through their organizations to offer the product to women. The soft, silky wrap was designed by a cancer survivor to wear during treatment.

“Body image is a big deal to women,” said Amy Deutsch, RN, DNP, CNS, AOCNS, an advanced practice nurse in System Cancer Services at Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston. “You can be demeaned in a hospital gown but feel like a person in something pretty.”

A nurse navigator at a Memorial Hermann Cancer Center saw the Radiant Wrap at a conference and brought the idea to her peers. Deutsch led the approval effort. She gave presentations to the Oncology Clinical Council and the radiation oncologists.

Deutsch met with people from the health system’s foundation and received funding from the In the Pink subcommittee for Montgomery County. Memorial Hermann’s radiation center in that county will begin offering wraps to female patients soon. Memorial Hermann has ordered 120 gowns. Deutsch continues to seek funding for the wraps at other locations.

“You have to get creative, because it’s the right thing to do,” Deutsch said. “Healthcare is changing.”

At seven locations, Memorial Hermann also has taken on a breast prosthesis program, which the American Cancer Society no longer offers. Deutsch met with the business service line managers and the foundation for approval.


A model wears one of the Radiant Wrap designs available.
(Photo courtesy of Alice By Design Photography)
Saddleback Memorial Medical Center

Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, Calif., began offering the gowns in February. Radiant Wrap contacted the hospital, and clinical nurse navigator Ruth Niebuhr, RN, BSN, OCN, let two patients try the wrap before ordering. The first patient preferred the hospital gown, but the second one called the Radiant Wrap fabulous and luxurious. The radiation techs and physician approved as long as all patients who wanted one could have one. She presented the wrap and its use in patient care to clinical committees and strategic planning meetings. “We got consensus that this was of value,” Niebuhr said.

Saddleback began offering the wrap after the health system’s foundation identified a donor willing to fund the initiative. Patients pay only a portion of the actual cost of a wrap. They are sold through the hospital’s Transitions for Women Boutique, which sells prostheses, wigs and hats. The hospital offers reduced pricing for women unable to afford the $15 cost of the wrap.

“It’s very satisfying for me to see the number being used,” Niebuhr said. “It’s fulfilling to see the project finished.”

RNs offer top 10 tips for obtaining facility approval

The RNs instrumental in getting Radiant Wraps approved for use at their hospitals offer these top 10 tips for obtaining facility approvals:

• Determine the need and clarify how it will benefit patient care
• Request a sample, so everyone can touch the product or try it on if appropriate
• Develop a plan to move the idea forward, researching what approvals will be needed and what hurdles must be overcome
• Think through and outline how the hospital will use the product, how will it be stored and distributed and, if the hospital is charging for it, how to collect the money
• Secure support from fellow nurses and/or navigators
• Educate and obtain buy-in from the medical staff and other clinical committees
• Draft a proposal to take to administration and obtain support
• Demonstrate the value in offering the new product, keeping in mind patient-centered care and patient satisfaction
• Find a way to pay for the new product, such as securing support from the hospital’s foundation
• Adjust and revise the proposal to overcome objections


Debra Anscombe Wood, RN, is a freelance writer. Post a comment below or email editorWest@nurse.com.