Form a Peer Support Group

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HOW DO I START A CHAPTER / PEER SUPPORT GROUP AT MY LOCATION?

Peer support is a process of sharing common experiences, situations, or challenges through an exchange of getting and giving support. It involves the practice of self-care and sharing “what works.” Peer Support is not based on medical models of illness and disorder; it is the provision of emotional, practical, and informational supports by people with lived experiences, to cultivate mutual empowerment. Peer support initiatives are run by and for the participants.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A PEER SUPPORT GROUP (PSG)

Peer Support Groups have the following characteristics:

  • Participants share a common interest or need.
  • The Peer Support Group meeting is like a rap session or discussion group.
  • The organizational structure is completely flexible to meet the needs of the participants.
  • Participants are not necessarily members of a Chapter, nor is there pressure to join.
  • The Facilitator need not be a trained Ostomy Canada Peer Visitor.
  • The group lasts only as long as there are two or more people who are benefitting. 
  • They are responsible to the Regional Administrator of their region and the Ostomy Canada Executive Director.   

 

The benefits of being a support group with Ostomy Canada include:

  • Name recognition
  • Use of the official logo
  • Pamphlets and educational material
  • Access to the national website
  • Subscriptions to the Ostomy Canada magazine and Ostomy Canada Connects newsletter,
  • Notifications of special events and conferences
  • A national youth camp for ages 9-18
  • National certification standards for your visitor program
  • Volunteers who are registered with Ostomy Canada are covered by the national liability insurance program while conducting official Ostomy Canada business. 
  • All members of the Peer Support Group are encouraged to register as Ostomy Supporters so they receive full benefit of all the information and materials available. 
  • Members of a Peer Support Group can become Ostomy Canada supporters by making a donation of $25.00 or more
  • Income tax receipts for donations to Ostomy Canada Society Inc
  • Access to national funding to support local projects that enhance the mission of the Society, among others.

PROCEDURE FOR FORMING A PEER SUPPORT GROUP

  • Submit the volunteer application form to Ostomy Canada to become a facilitator
  • The facilitator is required to be a Ostomy Canada “Supporter” by making a donation of $25.00 or more online or via preauthorized donation form. Once the donation is made, please send the donation confirmation receipt/email to support@ostomycanada.ca.
  • Find others who share your interest
  • Think “Mutual Aid” from the beginning
  • Get approval to name your Peer Support Group: For example – Ostomy Canada Peer Support Group “Location”
  • Determine location and time of meetings
  • Inform the others about the first meeting
  • Publicize your meetings, including on Ostomy Canada website

EXPECTATIONS OF A GROUP LEADER / FACILITATOR

  • Inform others about the first meeting
  • Publicize your meetings, including on Ostomy Canada website
  • Support communications
  • Share messages of importance
  • Identify and communicate needs/issues of importance back to OCS.
  • Respond to information inquiries from OCS
  • Be a conduit for Ostomy Canada information – Board, Events, DTC, Youth Camp, etc.
  • Share ideas and volunteers to improve our organization.
  • Support best efforts on national programs
  • Maintain group members and full contact information

AT YOUR FIRST MEETING

  • Be prepared to sign people in as they arrive with their contact information
  • Host the first meeting
  • Be guided by the hints for Facilitators
  • Define the purpose of the group
  • Decide on a meeting format
  • Encourage participants to become Ostomy Canada volunteers and supporters.

Questions or concerns?

Email

Please send a note to support@ostomycanada.ca

Phone

Please call us at
1-888-969-9698

HINTS FOR FACILITATORS

In many situations, the role of facilitating or leading a group, meeting, or discussion is not the responsibility of only one person but is the responsibility of several in the group. This is not always the case, and therefore, it is important for leaders to keep in mind that with the leadership role comes a certain amount of responsibility to other people living with an ostomy and their circles of support. People often turn to leaders for assistance, guidance, and sometimes see them as mentors or someone they trust and “look up to.” As a result, leaders should maintain a degree of “professionalism” when working with others and be aware of their ability to:

  • Use good judgment when working with a group or issues that arise in that group.
  • Share a common goal with the group, be passionate, have integrity, and be trustworthy.
  • Pursue self-knowledge, accept responsibility and blame no one.
  • Help members feel comfortable and get to know each other.
  • Be sure the speaker has finished describing his/her problem before offering advice.
  • Listen carefully and considerately when another member is speaking and discourage side conversations by others in the group.
  • Promote positive comments and new viewpoints, that is, keep the discussion positive and upbeat so the discussion doesn’t deteriorate into a gripe session.
  • Notice silent people in the group and encourage them to participate.
  • Participate in the discussion by sharing problems, and offering ideas and advice.
  • Let individuals talk openly about negative or angry feelings. Often this must be done before positive advice can be given and received.
  • Make a commitment to the group, contributing whatever talents, skills, resources or information that are necessary to make certain that the group is successful.
  • Set goals, plan programs, identify jobs that need to be done, recognize and carry out the jobs that keep a group  going.
  • Keep the group on topic and briefly restate what individuals have said.
  •  State/summarize all sides of a dispute or argument.
  •  Help individuals evaluate how they are doing and to figure out how to improve things.
  •  Suggest ways to solve a problem.

Sign Petition

Ostomy Canada is petitioning the Ontario Government to: "Respect the ADP mandate to cover 75% of the average cost of ostomy supplies and would like your help by adding your name. Once we have a sufficient # of signatures, the petition will be brought to the Ontario Legislature by The NDP Health Critic.