In February 2022, Myeloma UK launched a new Peer Buddy service to connect and empower myeloma patients and their loved ones.
Peer Buddies offer up to six sessions of support over six weeks either over the phone or on Zoom. Patients are matched with patients and carers/loved ones are matched with carers/loved ones.
All our Peer Buddies are fully trained and have experience of myeloma or a related condition which they can share with the people seeking support.
Feedback from service users demonstrates the significant improvement support from someone with experience of the same condition has on wellbeing.
A quality service with a positive impact on wellbeing
During its first six months, the Peer Buddy service supported 45 people with Peer Buddies delivering 174 sessions of support. Patients who used the service rated the overall service quality as 9.7 out of 10 and 100% of people would recommend the Peer Buddy service to others. The Peer Buddy skills and experience were rated as 9.7 out of 10.
Results from the patient survey also highlighted the positive impact the service had on patients’ wellbeing.
- The average self-reported wellbeing score before support was 5.5 out of 10. This score rose to 8.9 out of 10 after support.
- The average hopefulness score before support was 5.6 out of 10. After support, the average score was 8.7 out of 10
- The average ‘connectedness to others’ score before support was 5.7 out of 10. After support, the average score was 8.7 out of 10
- When asked to rate how confident participants felt advocating for themselves or their loved one the average score was 9.2 out of 10
- 100% of participants strongly agreed that it was important to them to be supported by someone who had experience of what they were going through
People supported through the service have sought help with a variety of issues. Some have wanted to discuss experiences of treatment or care, whilst others have sought help with employment, relationships, or family issues. Despite needing different kinds of help, Peer Buddies have consistently provided person-centred support tailored to the needs of each individual.
Qualitative feedback from supported people has demonstrated:
Improved confidence in treatment decisions
‘One outcome was that at no time did I consider that I was taking the wrong decision by having [type of treatment].’
Reduction in feelings of isolation
‘[The best thing about Peer Buddy support was] the kindness and understanding of someone who could relate to the circumstances and also had the wisdom from their journey to share – it certainly left me feeling less isolated.’
Improvements in managing the uncertainty of a myeloma diagnosis:
‘[The best thing about Peer Buddy support was] his experience, his manner, his understanding of the situation and his advice on how to deal with so much uncertainty.’
‘[They] could empathise and also gave practical tips to deal with emotions/life with myeloma.’
The Peer Buddy service addresses an unmet need
Professor Guy Pratt, Consultant Haematologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, shared with Myeloma UK what benefits he thinks the Peer Buddy service offers to patients:
“Support for myeloma patients’ mental wellbeing is frequently lacking and a major unmet need. The Peer Buddy service provides invaluable support for patients by providing information, empathy and reassurance from the perspective of an experienced fellow patient. For many patients, this service has been a huge support for them during their myeloma journey.”
You can find out more about the Peer Buddy service and how your patients and their loved ones can self-refer on the Myeloma UK website.