St. Michael’s Hospital has created a peer support group for survivors of traumatic injury, such as a car crash, fall, gunshot wound or work-related injury. Called My BeST (Beyond Surviving, to Thriving), the program connects survivors of physical trauma—including patients, their families and their caregivers—and helps them rebuild their lives after serious injury.
With the launch of My BeST, St. Michael’s became the first Canadian hospital to join the American Trauma Society’s network of peer support groups. As part of the American Trauma Society’s Trauma Survivors’ Network, My BeST will:
- Provide valuable, practical information on recovery from traumatic injury
- Connect survivors with support groups
- Enhance survivor skills to manage day-to-day challenges
- Develop online communities of support and hope for trauma patients and their families
- Work with health care providers to deliver the best care and support to patients and their families
The support group meetings are open to any interested participants who have sustained or been affected by traumatic physical injury. One hospital staff member and one patient will co-lead our monthly, two-hour support group sessions. Meetings are expected to include open discussion, brief presentations from experts and education tailored to trauma survivor needs. Session topics and the meeting structure will be shaped and guided by survivor group participants and feedback. Potential topics include pain management, brain injury, advocacy, alternate therapies, and optimizing sleep. Meeting dates alternate between day and evening sessions to accommodate participant’s schedules. All meetings take place in downtown Toronto in wheelchair-accessible buildings and all meeting rooms will have elevator access.
The function of this support group is to empower trauma survivors by connecting them with other survivors and helping them develop skills to manage day-to-day challenges.
St. Michael’s is one of the province’s major resources of care for critically ill patients and is one of only two adult trauma hospitals in Toronto. As such, the hospital is working to distinguish itself as Canada’s premier critical care research hospital. In its 2015-2018 Strategic Plan, St. Michael’s outlined its goal of excelling in the care of critically ill patients. My BeST is one of the projects that has come from that work.
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The advice and information contained in this article are for educational and support purposes only.
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