Helpful Hints for Supporting Your New Member
In addition to the online training you have participated in to become a certified Hope for Two Volunteer Support Woman, we offer the following as helpful guidelines to assist you in supporting a new member.
Once you have agreed to support a new member and have received her contact details, we ask that you initiate contact with her. If our Patient Coordinator has not specified a particular preference for the new member, you may either phone or send an email. The new member will also have received your contact details and will be anticipating hearing from you in the next day or two.
It is our hope that you will maintain contact and provide support to your member throughout her pregnancy, treatment, birth of her baby and subsequent treatment after delivery. This time frame may vary in each support situation depending upon the needs of the member. The two of you can discuss what works for each of you.
We are hopeful that supporting a new member will be a positive experience for both of you. Remember, your personal experience is what equips you to be a Support Woman. We encourage you to let us know how the match works out as well as when the member delivers her baby so that we can contact her to see if she wishes to include her baby’s birth announcement details in an upcoming Hopeline newsletter. Feedback from our Support Women and new members is always welcome and greatly appreciated. Feel free to let us know at email@example.com or by calling 1.800.743.4471.
Making Initial Telephone Call of Sending Email
* Please note the time zone of the member so as to phone at an appropriate time.
- Introduce yourself as her Hope for Two Volunteer Support Woman.
- Ask if this is a good time to talk. If not, set up a time to return the call or have her contact you. Discuss if phone or email is preferred.
- If it is a good time, begin by saying you were a patient, too. Briefly describe your experience.
- If the member starts right into the conversation, follow her lead.
- Answer questions honestly using your own experiences. Stay away from issues concerning religion, alternative therapy, medical questions or medical advice.
- Refer medical questions and requests for medical advice to her physician.
- NEVER GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE.
- We provide information to new members about Maternal-Fetal medicine specialist
Dr. Elyce Cardonick as a resource for medical questions.
- You may suggest our website for additional resources: www.hopefortwo.org.
- Try to put the member at ease. Accept her point of view and feelings. Use your own story to validate these feelings.
- Do not hurry through the conversation. Call when you have time to talk.
- Listen carefully to her questions and feelings. Avoid giving more information than requested.
- If a member asks very specific questions about your treatment and it is different from her course of treatment, stress that treatment varies from person to person, treatment center to treatment center and doctor to doctor.
- When ending the call:
- Tell the member you hope your conversation was helpful.
- Establish a time frame to be in contact again.
- Tell the member you enjoyed talking with her.
- After the call, make brief notes to remind yourself what you spoke about.
Initial contact suggestion:
My name is Karen. I’m a Hope for Two volunteer support woman and a 3 year breast cancer survivor who was also pregnant with cancer.
I was 5 months pregnant when I discovered a lump and had 3 rounds of chemo while I was pregnant. My baby girl is healthy; she weighed 6 lbs. 3 oz. at birth and had a full head of hair!
I am looking forward to connecting with you so that we can talk/email. Just let me know when would be a good time for you and how you would like to connect (phone or email).
Video Training Refresher:
At any time, you are welcome to view our training video again if desired. Please contact our Patient Coordinator by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a message at 1.800.743.4471 with your request and we will be happy to forward you the link to the training video. Our intention is always to help you feel comfortable and confident supporting a new member.
If Issues Arise
Lack of Response From New Member: Occasionally, a Support Woman may not receive a prompt reply from her new member after attempting the initial phone call or email. We would like to suggest waiting a few days and then making another attempt, possibly opposite your initial contact (if you phoned, try email; if you emailed, trying phoning). Many new members contact us right at the time of diagnosis, possibly making them busy with appointments and potentially, the beginning of treatment(s), etc. If still no reply after 1-2 weeks, we suggest making one more phone call and/or sending one more email, letting the new member know that you are available if and when the member decides she would like to connect for support. Let her know that you will leave the option to decide to get in touch in her hands. This way the member can contact you when she is ready. If a month or so passes with no contact, we would greatly appreciate hearing from you to let us know. We can then attempt to reach out to the new member as well.
Not a Good Match: If you find that the chemistry is not right and/or that you may not be the best match for the member, please feel free to contact us right away for assistance and our Patient Coordinator will connect with you. We will be happy to look into a more suitable match for the member and can add you back on the list for a future support situation.
Request for Support too Great: If a member’s request for support becomes too much or if you discover there is an issue, contact our Patient Coordinator who can assist or intervene.
Change in Your Availability: If something occurs in your personal life that would prevent you from supporting, contact our Patient Coordinator and a new Volunteer Support Woman will be found for the member.
Please remember to let us know of any changes to your contact details so that we can update your profile accordingly for future support situations. Also, if you find that you are available and ready for a new support situation, we would be pleased to hear from you!