By Evelyn Robles-Rodriguez, RN, MSN, APN-C,AOCN
Since 2008, the Camden County Cancer Screening Project at Cooper University Hospital has been providing Home Health Parties (HHP) as an educational tool for underserved Camden County residents. Since that time, over 4,100 women have been educated about breast cancer and have helped spread the word about the importance of breast screening leading to over 2,580 women receiving clinical breast exams and mammograms.
The HHPs educate through gaming in the nature of a "Tupperware" party. A host invites persons in her community to attend the party at her home, place of worship or community organization. We provide an outreach worker who works with the host to set-up the party, and a nurse who provides the education. Two to three games are played with the group. One is approximately 15 questions on the risks for breast cancer. The nurse asks the question, participants raise their hands and the correct responder receives a "breast cancer dollar." At the end of the game, the person with the most dollars receives a special gift, courtesy of AVON or other products. There is also a BINGO game which we tend to use with older crowds. Finally, the third game is regarding myths prevalent in the community about breast cancer. Participants receive cards with FACT on one side and MYTH on the other. When they hear the statement (e.g., getting hit in the breast can cause breast cancer), they have to respond with their card FACT or MYTH. Again, the persons with correct answers receive dollars and gifts are given to those with the most dollars at the end. The HHPs are a fun way to educate and to open the door to communication with participants and the community. There is usually lots of laughter and lots of awe, especially in the Myths and Facts game!
In the beginning, we spread the word about the HHPs through our community partners and survivors. Now, we can usually get one or two parties from the one we are currently running! We update the games yearly to keep the knowledge current and provide new information. At the end of the party, we sign up the uninsured for screening and encourage those that are insured to get their mammograms. Most especially, those that are insured spread the word about the free screenings for the uninsured to family and friends.
This has been the best educational tool we have used and truly the most fun!