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Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality

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Survivors Helping Survivors

About the Program

Mission: Provide one-on-one support to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients through a peer support program.

Vision: One day all survivors will provide help for someone else who is newly-diagnosed, no matter what stage of their disease.

Values: A survivor volunteer may be a vision of hope, even for those with stage IV metastatic breast cancer.

Beliefs: There are elements of psychosocial support that may only be fulfilled by someone who has “walked the walk” and “talked the talk”.

Goals: Provide one-on-one support to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients through a peer support program.

Population Served

Format: 1:1; on-site support during biopsy and imaging procedures; two overnight metastatic retreats per year are also offered

Setting: health care setting, via email, cell phone, or in person off-site

People served: newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with any stage of breast cancer

Program location: virtual and within breast center in Baltimore, MD

Estimated number served: offered to 700+ annually.

People in the Program

23 survivor volunteers; two nurse navigators for oversight, training, mentoring and tracking.

Recruitment and selection: Volunteers are often program participants who express interest in helping others and giving back to the program.

Training: On-site volunteers must shadow a seasoned volunteer in breast imaging for several visits before being allowed to mentor.

Motivation: Quarterly dinner meetings; regular thanks; feedback.

Sustaining the Program

Key strategies: Volunteers need to feel fulfilled and that they are making a difference in the lives of patients.

Critical support: Breast center leadership, nurse practitioners and breast imaging personnel.

Marketing and communication strategies: Online advertising of our retreats plus word of mouth and feedback from patients.

Quality control: We monitor the number of service hours from each volunteer by collecting their info each month. For monitoring quality, we receive feedback (both good and not so good) from patients served.