How to Start A Support Group


Find the people in the community with HCV.
Access accurately their needs.
Prioritize needs.
Meet the needs of the people with HCV in the entire designated area.
Ask them to help find others in need.

Step 1.

Look for any other HCV Support Group, first, so as not to duplicate effort, but to compound and enhance groups' overall effects on members and served community.

Open your local area phone book and list all Internal Medicine Doctors, Gastroenterologists, Hepatologists, and Hospitals, to include any Medical establishments that may deal with Hepatitis or other related liver diseases. Contact these groups and let them know you are starting a Support Group in the area.

Check with the local Dr's and/or Hospitals for a free site to hold the meetings.

Contact your local newspaper and advertise the Group in the 'What's Happening' section.

Contact all local radio stations and ask them how to put in a Public Service Announcement to inform the public of your meetings.

Make up fliers to distribute to local Medical Offices.

Contact local area representatives of: (the Drug Company Reps can offer to provide your group with refreshments, grants, educational material, and speakers.)
American Liver Foundation (ALF) ~ 1-888-4HEP-ABC(443-7222)
American Liver Foundation ALF Information Brochures ~ 1-800-223-0179
American Digestive Health Foundation ~ 1-800-668-5237

Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals:
Schering Care Line for Intron A ~ 1-800-363-3422 Code 2000-financial assistance line, 0 speak with nurse
"Be In Charge Program" ~ (Free support program for "INTRON A" and REBETRON patients in USA only)~ 1-888-437-2608 (website: )

Amgen Pharmaceuticals:
Amgen's Infergen Newsletter
Amgen's COMPASS Program ~ 1-888-508-8088

American Digestive Health Foundation ~ 1-800-668-5237

Step 2.

Contact referral centers and ask about other known HCVers in area.
Have referral center pass along info., or contact them yourself, if possible.

Step 3.

Two or more is a support group.
Access the immediate needs of the group.
Prioritize needs.
Analyze available resources for group.
Plan and Schedule objectives and goals for support group.
Work in unison to achieve objectives and goals.
Keep records and stay organized.
Evaluate long term objectives and goals to include influencing legislation.

Step 4.

Design a control and feedback system to evaluate groups' effectiveness- sort of like filling out your own report card. This will allow you to identify weak, or upcoming problem areas concerning delivery of groups' support services.

Have a membership drive each quarter annually. Or, design an evaluation form to compare what you planned on doing, and what actually occurred, or what was actually provided- i.e. group members visit other members not able to attend group meetings because of health related problems, including hospital visits. Who goes? What if they can not?, etc...

Step 5:

Meet all realistic HCV needs of all group members and community non-members.

Offer to go to medical schools and ask "to show and tell" young doctors about HCV. They learn, we take measures to ensure the doctors of the future understand HCV and all related side effects.

Support Group Leaders Information