Buddy System

If you have been offered an ICD, recently had an ICD implanted, or had one for some time and are struggling, you might find it helpful to talk to a buddy. A buddy is a member of Cambridge Heartbeats who has experience of learning to live with a cardiac device implant and understands what that means. A buddy is not a professional counsellor, but someone who can offer friendly help from a personal perspective.

If you would like to talk to a buddy, please email cambridgeheartbeats@gmail.com and we can put you in touch with someone.

New buddies are always welcome. No prior experience is needed except for living with an ICD and willingness to listen, and some training and guidance will be provided. If you are interested in volunteering, please email us.

The introduction of Buddying (January 2021)

During the early days of Cambridge Heartbeats committee meetings, the possibility of operating a Buddy system was discussed.  Other similar groups operating in the area were contacted to find out if they used a buddy system. However, it was found that although volunteers were active, not in buddy format.

The explanation of a buddy is someone who provides friendly help to someone with an illness or a problem. The Cambridge Heartbeats buddy system is a voluntary network for ICD patients to support one another by sharing their own experience.

The Committee agreed that those who become buddies should have received their own ICD at least a year previously, would complete an application form and have an interview by two members of the committee. Buddies supply 2 references and undertake the relevant training presented by committee members before commencing work with clients. Buddies would be issued with handouts detailing when to offload and refer client to an expert, that they should consider carefully how much personal detail they are prepared to share and how much time they are prepared to give.  They would be matched to clients needing support by the reason for their own ICD i.e. buddy with cardiomyopathy would be matched to client with the same requirement. Buddies could either meet up with clients or use telephone discussion.  It was to be emphasised from the onset of a client approaching Cambridge Heartbeats that none of the buddies will be as professional counsellors.

In June 2020, 2 committee members presented to the rest of the Committee (via Zoom), a suggested training course which was well received and later agreed this was how buddies would be trained in the future.