Patient Pals peer-support program offers volunteer training Thursday, Feb. 21

WNC Health Advocates offers free volunteer training for its Patient Pals & Family Friends peer-support program Thursday, Feb. 21, from 6-9 p.m..

The training prepares volunteers to act as support and friend for someone who is ill or disabled and isolated. Typically, those helped generally have more than one medical issue and have few outside contacts. Volunteers are asked to commit to at least one hour a week for six months to ensure continuity to those served by the program.

Volunteers will learn about active listening, family dynamics, defusing anger, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act rules and more. Our volunteers do not offer any kind of medical treatment or advice, although they may help people prepare a list of questions for a doctor’s appointment and accompany them to take notes on the doctor’s answers.

More often, volunteers act as friends, with such activities as going to lunch or a movie, visiting a museum or taking a walk. The Feb. 21 training is free, and light refreshments are provided.

WNC Health Advocates was founded in 2009 in memory of founder Leslie Boyd’s son, Mike Danforth, who died in 2008 after he was denied health care. The group offers health-care advocacy, education and support through three programs: Patient Pals & Family Friends, a peer-support program for people with illness or disability; Start From Seed, a volunteer doula (birth coach) program for low-income women who are uninsured or on Medicaid; True Stories, an educational program that helps people understand the changes happening in our health care system.

For more information, visit, e-mail or call 243-6712.

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