The Power of Peer Support
While a hospital stay may end, a burn survivor’s journey lasts a lifetime. Many burn survivors experience exceptional care and support during their stay at a burn center or hospital unit, but after their discharge, they might feel surprised, shocked, or even overwhelmed at the journey ahead of them.
What is Peer Support?
Peer support is a system of giving and receiving knowledge, emotional, physical or social help to one another. Peer support is a powerful tool that is used in connection to many health conditions, including a burn injury. It for people with similar life experiences has proven to be tremendously valuable towards helping many move through difficult situations. For the burn community, peer support helps speed and strengthen recovery by offering healing, advice, and hope at a challenging time. The simple truth is the sooner the burn community can find resources and caring people, the sooner they can get back to living.
Burn survivors, families, friends, healthcare professionals, firefighters, and others can all find power in peer support. Peer support takes many forms, including support for physical, social, and emotional healing. For burn survivors, receiving support from someone further along on their recovery journey can be important in restoring connections with others, as well as providing hope for the future.
Recovering from a burn injury is a lifelong journey, so Phoenix Society aims to build connections and establish resources for burn survivors and their supporters, including peer support.
Phoenix SOAR (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery)
Phoenix SOAR connects burn survivors and loved ones to a compassionate community of people who share a similar experience. Through Phoenix SOAR, individuals with new burn injuries can hear from other survivors and can ask questions about what to expect. The power of this program has been proven time and time again.
A firefighter since 2003, Mitch Dryer was injured in the line-of-duty, suffering 3rd and 4th degree burns covering 20% of his body. Mitch was rescued at the last minute by fellow firefighters and began his journey as a burn survivor. During his hospital stay, Mitch met a Phoenix SOAR peer supporter: another firefighter and burn survivor who was injured on the job. Mitch notes that his peer supporter gave him insight into his future, support to conquer the present, and the strength to get back to living. Now, he is a trained Phoenix SOAR Peer Supporter and shares his story to help others.
Phoenix World Burn Congress
Phoenix World Burn Congress (WBC) is the world's largest gathering of the burn community. Phoenix WBC connects burn survivors, family, friends, firefighters, medical staff, and more with support, resources, and each other. For many, it is the first chance to connect with other members of the burn community in person on the journey of recovery from a burn injury. From registration to the closing celebration, every moment is a stepping stone for each attendee move forward in their own journey. The next Phoenix WBC will be held in Anaheim, CA from October 2-5, 2019.
Peer Support Chat
Each week, Phoenix Society hosts an online support chat, virtually connecting the burn community across the globe. While there is healing power behind meeting other members of the burn community in person, this may not be viable for all. Some may not be surrounded by the burn community all year long.
Phoenix Society's online chat gives the burn community the ability to connect every week, for free, all year long. The live chat covers common issues and questions facing burn survivors and their loved ones. Currently, the live chat is hosted through Facebook every Wednesday from 9:00 - 10:30 P.M. EST.
Power of Peer Support
Phoenix Society offers a variety of peer support programs that can provide support and hope in the lifelong journey of a burn injury. Many survivors find peer support to be one of the most helpful resources in the recovery process because peer support is a powerful force against isolation. While each burn injury is different, one thing is the same – community is greater than isolation.