How to...use support groups

Learn from other people’s experiences  

Patient support groups provide help to patients with the same illness or condition. They are run by patients and facilitate the sharing of information and experiences.  

Contact your local groups  

It is useful to be in contact with your local support groups in order to improve care for your patients. Find out what they offer and how to make a referral. The local volunteer bureau can help you find suitable organisations. The bureau will also help with necessary paperwork.  

Set up your own group  

You could also set up a patient support group at the practice if a need is identified. Have a list of support groups on your computer and at reception. 

Organise meetings  

Organise meetings for volunteers and patients. Use a non-medical venue, such as a doctors’ common room.  

Offer a counselling course  

Ask the practice or primary care organisation counsellor or therapist to design and deliver a low-level counselling course for your volunteers. It is important to keep an eye on volunteers so they do not take on board patients’ worries. Make sure a GP is available if the volunteer needs advice during a session. 

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