Best Buddies

Best Buddies Volunteer Program

The Family Support Program has offered the Best Buddy volunteer program to patients and families since 1997. Best Buddy volunteers can provide an addition social support to the PTCT patients and families by helping to offset feelings of isolation and loneliness. 

How do Best Buddies help?

  • Frequently visit patient and family, being a friend and a listener. 
  • Provide respite care on the PTCT inpatient unit while parents/caregivers spend time away. 
  • Help bring a welcome change of activities, conversation, and social interaction.

How are Best Buddies trained?

Best Buddy volunteers comply with all Duke Hospital policies including passing a health screening and background check to ensure that they are approved to work with a pediatric population. In addition, volunteers are required to get an annual flu shot and any other vaccinations required for our immunosuppressed patient population. Best Buddy volunteers participate in onsite training through volunteer services and the Family Support program. Once trained, PTCT Family Support staff continue to offer support and counsel to Best Buddy volunteers throughout their participation in the program.  This is not a clinical volunteer experience and volunteers do not have access to any medical information.  There is no shadowing component to the Best Buddy program.

Where do Best Buddies serve?

Best Buddies help inpatient with pediatric blood and marrow transplant patients and families while they are receiving treatment here at Duke. Best Buddies are matched with patients as they begin their inpatient treatment in the hospital.  Best Buddies provide a consistent outlet for families throughout their long stay in Durham. 

For more information about the Duke PTCT Best Buddy Volunteer Program, contact Julie Watson.


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