The ACHA Heart to Heart Peer Support Program connects ACHD patient and family members with trained peers who provide support, guidance and resources.
ACHA’s individual support program offers members of ACHA and their family the opportunity to connect one-on-one with other CHD patients or family members in a positive, supportive way. While each person’s experience with congenital heart disease (CHD) is unique, many patients find it helpful to talk to someone who has been or is currently in a similar medical situation.
Common reasons our members reach out for support from a Heart to Heart Peer Mentor include:
- Transition to ACHD Care
- Recently Diagnosed with CHD
- Upcoming Surgery or Procedure
- Disability, Insurance & Access to Care
- Change in Health Status
- Pregnancy, Surrogacy & Adoption
After completing a support request form, in order to personalize each match, all members will talk with the program coordinator via telephone or email to determine his/her specific needs. Following this discussion, the member will be matched with the Peer Mentor who most closely meets those needs. Communication between member and Peer Mentor is conducted via email and telephone. Our Heart to Heart Peer Mentors work with each member to set goals for their match, connect them with valuable resources, share their experience and provide guidance. Matches are three months in length and focus on member education, self-advocacy and empowerment.
If you think you might benefit by being matched with an Peer Mentor, please click here for a support request application.
The Heart to Heart Peer Support Program provides patients and family members with the unique opportunity to give back to the congenital heart disease (CHD) community through providing one-on-one peer support to members through one-time and ongoing conversations via phone and email.
Peer Mentors are chosen after a comprehensive application and interview process including submitting an application with three references (for patient applicants – one of which must be from an ACHD trained medical professional), an interview with the program coordinator and consultant, and an in-person orientation training program. Applicants must be an ACHA member with 3-6 months of volunteer service with the organization.
Currently, the program is comprised of over 60 Peer Mentors from nearly 30 states. The program accepts new applicants and holds trainings based on the needs of the program, which are assessed on a yearly basis. The application and training process for 2020 will be forthcoming. Please continue to visit our website for future updates and click here to see our other volunteer opportunities.
Heart to Heart Peer Support Program Team
Senior Education Manager
Program & Mental Health Consultant
Tracy Livecchi, LCSW