Health Buddies at USF
STRENGTHENING COMMUNITY THROUGH VIRTUAL CONNECTIONS
In 2020, USF St. Petersburg campus launched St. Pete Friends as a collaboration with the Pinellas and Pasco County Area Agency on Aging and Seniors in Service to provide outreach between students and seniors in the surrounding St. Petersburg community who were experiencing heightened isolation due to social distancing measures enacted in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Participating students raved about the program and felt they were able to provide support to others in a difficult time, which also served to make them feel more connected. USF wanted to find ways to grow the program and make it more accessible for more students. Therefore, USF and Seniors in Service are collaborating on a new initiative calledHealth Buddies.
Health Buddies help reduce preventable hospital readmissions for individuals living with chronic conditions through combined in-home/telephone interventions that empower them to selfmanage their health. The objective of the program is to reduce emergency medical interventions by utilizing a volunteer buddy whose regular contact reduces stress and anxiety. The program has a built-in 12-week framework.
Volunteers are trained to provide support to help individuals live independently, with dignity. Volunteers are screened, receive trainings, and know that they are making a difference. Buddies don’t need any particular health background or knowledge, and will receive training for basic knowledge of managing chronic conditions.
How Does It Work:
SENIORS IN SERVICE WILL...
- Match students with clients;
- Provide ongoing volunteer training; and
- Monitor progress and regularly check-in with volunteers via call logs and surveys.
- Coordinate student service hours and offer opportunities through select coursework for credit and meeting of class requirements.
USF STUDENT HEALTH BUDDIES WILL…
- Call clients on a regular schedule that's convenient to them and their clients,
- Ask considerate questions and engage in stimulating conversation;
- Discuss overall well-being;
- Listen for "red flags"; and
- Connect clients to other community resources as needed.
Students wishing to learn more can visit Seniors in Service website.
To sign up to volunteer, please fill out this volunteer applications and at the end, indicate “Referred by USF.” HEALTH BUDDIES VOLUNTEER APPLICATION