How do I refer into the VV programme? Who can refer? And what is a ‘Volunteer Visit’? In this blog, we look at who can refer into the service and how to do so, as well as outlining the ways in which the Volunteer Visitor Service helps to support amputees across the UK.
What is a Volunteer Visit?
Volunteer visits provide focused peer support between a trained and experienced amputee (Volunteer Visitor) and a service user who has requested to speak to them about key topics relating to limb loss. Peer support is now widely recognised by healthcare professionals as a helpful part of the recovery process. Peer support provides the opportunity for those with lived experience to support others who are going through a similar journey.
The aim is that the service user has their questions answered by someone with lived experience, and at the same time, gets specific support from someone who really understands their challenges and goals.
‘Visits’ take place by phone or zoom currently, with plans in future to also offer visits at limb fitting centres, hospitals and community hubs as the service further develops.
Each visit lasts around one hour, and service users usually have between one and three visits before moving on to other services such as the LA’s hub chats or accessing additional support through our helpdesk team.
Who can refer?
You can make a referral for yourself, or we accept referrals from relatives, friends, or professionals. When a referral is made, we will always need consent from the person wishing to access the service.
How can I make a referral for a visit?
There are several ways to make a referral for a visit which include:
• Completing an online referral form on our website. To make a referral simply request an online referral form here and you will then receive an e-mail providing you with a copy of the full online referral form.
• Calling the LA Helpdesk or emailing us: 0800 644 0185 / firstname.lastname@example.org
• Requesting a paper version of the referral form– you can contact our LA Helpdesk to request this.
We aim to respond to all new referrals within two days.
The form is easy to complete, but if support is needed, our friendly team of Service Support Officers are available Mon-Fri 9-5 to assist – just call 0800 644 0185.
What are the benefits of having a visit?
Research shows that peer support is an effective part of support in the rehabilitation journey. Not only do those with lived experience have knowledge and understanding of limb loss on a practical level, but they also offer empathy and encouragement from the heart.
Volunteer Visits aim to support amputees through providing a number of positive benefits including:
• Feeling less isolated and alone
• Understanding what their future may look like
• Having hope about what lies ahead
• Connection with someone who shows empathy and real understanding
• Gaining practical knowledge and tips about life with limb loss