What the Buddy Service offers
- The service is not a counselling, therapy, befriending or ‘friendship’ scheme. We suggest to individuals that they can contact you six times or over a period of three months. This is a guideline and we appreciate that the number of times they contact you will vary depending on their situation, and sometimes slightly more contact may be helpful. The individual can discuss this directly with you, and you can talk to us about this if you would like to. But you are under no obligation to extend this. We offer this guidance so that you are not over-whelmed, or if you feel that gently giving some boundaries might be helpful for you or the individual. However, if long-term contact continues (for example, for a year or more) this is not part of the Buddy Service and would not be recognised by us as an active Buddy link. There may be instances where individuals may need to be gently reminded of this.
- Please make it clear to the individual that the experiences you share are your own (recognising that other people will have other experiences). We explain this to individual’s but it may be helpful to remind them. It can be helpful to explain that your experience may be different to theirs, and we only expect you to share your experiences.
- As a Buddy you are required to not give advice (including medical advice). Please be aware that if an individual were to act on advice that you give, there could be a negative impact on the individual, on you and on Lymphoma Action. Therefore, the Buddy Service does not give advice. (If you give advice you will be held liable for this and Lymphoma Action will not take any responsibility for this as we have asked you to not give advice).
When you are in contact with an individual
- When we make a link, we give the individual your contact details, and ask them to contact you within two weeks either to talk, or to arrange a time to talk. We don’t give you their contact details, and we don’t ask you to make contact with them. This is so that they can decide whether to make contact or not. Some people change their minds about making contact, and we ask them to let us know if they have changed their mind (and we will let you know if they do this). If the individual has contacted you and left a message, you can then contact them back (as they have already made that first contact with you).
- Please make sure that you are in a confidential and quiet place to take calls, and away from disturbances, so that you can focus on the support you are giving, and where your conversation cannot be overheard.
- We have a list of third party organisations that you can signpost individuals to (that we have checked for suitability) and a list of useful organisations. If you signpost to an organisation please make it clear that it is not a recommendation, and that we cannot guarantee that it will be helpful. Please don’t signpost to organisations not on the list (as we have not checked them).
- Please refer individuals back to our helpline services when appropriate.
Please ensure that you refer individuals back in the following circumstances:
- they appear to be suicidal;
- you feel that they may be dependent on you or on the service;
- you feel that they are misusing or abusing the service (for example, they repeatedly contact you outside of the service boundaries, or they don’t appear to be using the service for its intended use);
- you don’t feel the link is appropriate, or you are not able to fulfill the link request for any reason;
- they contact you after the link has ended or after a long period of time;
- you have any concerns about their medical or emotional wellbeing (or suggest they call their medical team);
- they disclose any information that you are concerned is, or could be, a safeguarding issue; or
- there is any other reason why you are concerned.
If we have any concerns about an individual who requests a link, we will usually not make a link but rather try and signpost them to an appropriate service.
After your link
- You may like to contact us after having a link to talk through the link or discuss any issues or concerns that have come up for you during this link. This is an important part of looking after your own wellbeing.
Requirements around confidentiality
- All Buddies are required to sign a confidentiality agreement when they become a Buddy, and agree to adhere by this agreement. This is to protect them, the individual, and the charity.
When you have a link to an individual, please ensure that you:
- do not share the individual’s personal details or details of the link with anyone outside of the Buddy Service;
- avoid sharing any unnecessary information about yourself during the link (for example, where you live or the
- work you do); and
- destroy any personal information about the individual when the link has ended (for example, deleting emails
- or phone numbers).
In the unlikely event that you meet the individual you have linked to by accident (for example, at a Lymphoma Action event or Support Group), we suggest that you do not acknowledge knowing them from the Buddy Service, unless they initiate this. In this instance, please do not discuss the details of the link in this environment as it would affect the confidentiality of the service.
Keeping us up to date
- Please keep us up to date with your contact details and any relevant changes in your health circumstances. This is to support your wellbeing and ensure that we give you time to focus on your own needs outside of the service (for example, if you are having treatment for your lymphoma).
We ask that you let us know the following:
- if there are any changes to your contact details (we use these to keep in touch and to pass on to individuals);
- if you have had any changes to your lymphoma (for example, if you are having treatment we would not make any links with you during your treatment and for a few months afterwards);
- if there are any other reasons why you would not be able to take on a link, for example, you are busy or feel
- unable to help (so that we don’t approach you about links if you are taking some time away from the service).
In some instances there may be changes to your lymphoma that it would be helpful to tell us about, as new experiences may mean that we are able to make links to you because of these new experiences.