Connect with Another Family
Sometimes it helps to talk to someone who's been there. Through Family to Family Connections you can connect one on one with a family member who has significant experience with their child's or their own health need or disability. They are ready to listen, share their experiences, and direct you to appropriate information and resources.
Why connect with another family?
Dealing with a child health concern is often an isolating experience. You have a lot of questions and experience a roller coaster of emotions but it's hard to find others who understand and can provide support.
Connecting with someone else who has been through a similar experience will help you:
- Share your feelings and concerns with someone who has been there
- Get an inside view of the day to day experiences of living with a child health condition or disability
- Find out about useful information and resources
- Learn about strategies that have worked for another family and get help figuring out what will work best for your family
- Develop confidence in finding your way around the healthcare system
Who do you connect with?
We will connect you with someone who has had a similar experience to what you are going through. Most of our volunteers are parents who can talk to other parents or family members. Some are young adults who have experienced their own child health concerns. These young adults are available to talk to family members including youth who are experiencing their own health issues.
Our volunteers have a wide variety of experience including:
- Navigating the healthcare system
- Specific diagnoses
- Surgical procedures
- Genetic disorders
- Feeding tubes
- Special diets
- Cancer treatment
- Behavioral Issues
- Premature birth
- Funding sources
- School choices and concerns
- Transition to adulthood
- Palliative care
- Death of a child
All of the volunteers are registered as AHS volunteers. Screening includes reference checks, a police information check, and a child intervention record check. All volunteers complete a detailed orientation session and have the ongoing support of the Family to Family Connections Coordinator.
How does it work?
If you'd like to be connected to a family, all you need to do is call or email the Family to Family Connections Coordinator at 403-955-7187 or F2FConnections@albertahealthservices.ca.
The Coordinator will have a conversation with you about your circumstances and needs for support so that a suitable connection can be made for you. She will then find an appropriate Peer Mentor Volunteer to talk to you.
Before passing on your contact information and proceeding with the connection, you will be asked permission to share your contact information. This allows the Coordinator to share basic information about you with the peer mentor.
The Peer Mentor Volunteer will contact you on the phone or via email to set up a time to talk. Typically, families and volunteers will connect through one to four phone calls over a few months, but this can vary. Some families choose to meet in person or to use email.
What if the connection doesn't go well?
After your first conversation, the Coordinator will check in to see how the call went and to decide if you will continue the connection. You can end the connection at any time. You can also choose to connect with a different family or more than one family.
Is this confidential?
Anything you share with the Coordinator or the Peer Mentor Volunteer is considered confidential.