What is peer support?
Peer support is when people use their own experiences to help someone else. This might involve providing emotional support or information to someone who is going through a similar situation to one they have been through themselves.
What will Anthony Nolan’s peer support look like?
There are lots of peer support services out there, but we felt that the experience of a stem cell transplant is so unique in its challenges, that only someone who’d had a transplant could support someone going through a similar experience.
Our peer support service is a pilot scheme that will be provided over the phone, rather than face to face, and will be given by a trained volunteer who has been through a stem cell transplant and who is at least two years post-transplant.
We have recommended that a maximum of six calls take place for each peer support pairing.
Who can apply for peer support?
Anyone affected by a stem cell transplant can apply – this includes people before and after a transplant who would like to use the service. You can apply or be referred to a volunteer by a member of the Patient Services team.
How can peer support help?
There’s a lot of research that shows how peer support can help the person receiving it to improve their coping skills, offer reassurance and a sense of normality to what feels like a scary place.
Peer support can also reduce isolation, increase information sharing, and ensure a better understanding of the experience and what to expect in the future. This has been shown to help with managing emotional distress, and make adjusting to the experience of a transplant easier.
Peer support can also increase people’s confidence in talking to their transplant team, and sharing information. Research has shown that a peer support volunteer can also act as an important additional member of a person’s transplant team, helping them to prepare for what’s ahead with the combination of lived experience and facts and information from their medical team.
How does it feel for the volunteers offering the support?
We very carefully selected eight Anthony Nolan volunteers to take part in this programme. Each person has received extensive training from us about the best way they can use their personal experience to benefit others whilst maintaining confidentiality and protecting themselves and the person seeking help.
We are committed to allowing our volunteers open access to support from us so that they never feel overwhelmed by the important role they are doing.
How can I access peer support?
You can refer yourself directly via email or be referred by your clinical nurse specialist. Once you contact us, a member of our team will get in touch with you for an informal chat to make sure that this kind of support is right for you.
Once we know a bit about you we will try and match your questions and situation as closely as possible to one of our trained peer support volunteers.
Before your first call can take place, we will send you a questionnaire called a FACT-BMT by email or post to send back to us. Will can then send you one at the end of your 6 sessions with your peer supporter and try and see if having access to this kind of service is beneficial to transplant patients.
To find out more, please send the Patient Services team an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact telephone number, and a member of the team will arrange a time to call you for an informal chat.
If you don’t feel that peer support is for you, then there a lots of other ways that we can help.
Information published: 12/10/16
Next review due: 12/10/19