PHA’s support services have reached record numbers of patients and families through our in-person, online and telephone services.
More in-person support groups have met in 2017 than ever before! 240 active support groups in 2017 met over 700 times across the country, from the high desert of California to the western shores of Puerto Rico, from the beaches of Hawaii to the Green Mountains of Vermont. One support group for young adults in Western Pennsylvania and 2 pediatric support groups in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia held several meetings as well, and PHA plans to expand these specialized forms of support and outreach in the New Year. Nearly 400 people – people of all ages, of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, across all walks of life, with all types of PH – gather each month to learn together and provide support to one another. Our support group leaders are trained to create welcoming environments, and a recent survey of 114 support group members found that, while experiences differed in many respects, a feeling of welcome was reported across the board.
Due to schedules, distance, health and other factors, some people may not be able to attend one of these in-person groups. That is why PHA has created a robust repertoire of virtual services, both online and by phone. Our online community, MyPHA, has over 700 members, and over 120 people have utilized our email mentors. PHA’s Patient-to-patient Support Line remains an essential resource for those affected by pulmonary hypertension. Over 1,000 people called the support line this year to find a PH specialist, ask about insurance and financial assistance and simply rely on the compassion of our volunteers who listen non-judgmentally and patiently to the concerns of their fellow PHers. Thanks to a second line, calls that aren’t immediately answered by one volunteer roll to another, increasing the odds of callers connecting on their first try. Our telephone support groups are popular, too, with over 130 callers on our Patient and Caregiver Support Calls.
None of these incredible programs would be possible without the more than 350 support group leaders and PHA PHriends. Thank you, volunteers! If you would like to learn more about our support services, you can find them on the PHA website. And we could always use another dedicated volunteer; click here to apply to become our newest support group leader or PHA PHriend.