S19: SYMPOSIUM: Peer Work in SLHD: Development and Evaluation of a Workforce

Go back to Resource Library
By September 21, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Megan Still, Benn Miller, Jemima Isbester, Lucy Chang, Paul Clenaghan, Kevin Brown, Fiona Chisholm, Chez Davenport, Andrew McDonald, Justin Scanlan, Sam Vasta, Wedad Dannoun, Shay Gilbert, Lily Wu

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference


Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: In 2011 there were 3.5 FTE peer workers in SLHD. Since then, we have grown our workforce to 12 people sitting in 11 FTE permanent positions embedded in valued roles in the organisation. This growth has included the development of specialist roles in Health Peer Support, and a Senior Peer Support Worker. This symposium will describe the growth of the peer work in SLHD, issues of workforce development and a formal evaluation framework for the Health Peer Support Workers. It will also discuss how peer support workers do engage consumers, where other approaches have labelled them ‘non-responsive to clinical interventions’.

Paper 1: Health Peer Suport Workers: Evaluation of a new strategy. (Megan Still)
The Living Well, Living Longer program in Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) aims to increase access to health and wellbeing outcomes for mental health consumers. Central to this program is Health Peer Support Workers (HPSW), who focus on consumer-led engagement in health outcomes. SLHD appointed 4 FTE for a 2 year trial to evaluate the impact HPSW could have on engagement in physical health. HPSW activities and strategies will be discussed in a separate paper.
This paper will describe the evaluation of the HPSW trial. The evaluation included the recruitment and retention of HPSW’s, consumer engagement in healthy lifestyle activities, the consumer experience of working with a HPSW, the care coordinator /Team Leader experience of working with a HPSW, and the HPSW perspective.
Over this trial the HPSW have worked with 247 consumers on a group and individual basis. Over 85% of care coordinators and managers responded positively to the experience of HPSW’s working in the team. Consumers reported increased hope for recovery and feeling supported. 100% of consumers reported HPSW’s helped with healthy diet and exercise. Collectively, Peer Support Workers contributed an important element of multidisciplinary physical health care in our mental health service.

Paper 2: Health Peer Support Workers: Imaginative engagement with carrots. (Benn Miller)
The Living Well, Living Longer program in SLHD aims to increase health and wellbeing outcomes for mental health consumers. Central to this program is Health Peer Support Workers (HPSW), who focus on consumer-led health and wellbeing, including linking with GP’s and other health supports. A primary role of the HPSW’s is engaging consumers who decline physical health interventions. The HPSW have been in place for 18 months, and have seen 247 consumers on an individual and group basis, supporting consumers with access to GP’s, Dentists, specialist health clinics, exercise activities and community groups.
This paper will describe the role of the HPSW’s, focussing on strategies HPSW’s used to engage consumers who were currently declining support. The evolution of the model of care for Health Peer Support will be described. Strategies used to imaginatively engage consumers in their physical health will be explored. Active versus passive actions will be discussed in the context of engaging consumers. Finally, we will describe our experience with the importance of harnessing the joy and incredibly fun, rich and diverse activities that the community offers to support consumer engagement.

Paper 3: Peer Workforce Development in SLHD (Jemima Isbester)
Community Mental Health Services in Sydney Local Health District have been undergoing radical changes over the past two years. Peer Support Workers have been integrated into Core Care Coordination teams and Assertive Outreach teams.

This radical change has meant designing a basis for all Peer Workers to guide their work and generate cohesion among PSW’s in our district, this presentation will discuss our design and structural elements that guide our workforce making them a successful part of district mental health daily operations.

Our work is guided by an acronym coined by the Scottish Recovery Network called CHIME (Leamy et al, 2011.) CHIME stands for Connectedness, Hope, Identity, Meaning and Empowerment. These ideas guide the way we work with peers and the way we document our work. This provides a clear basis for PSW’s to work from and one that can be taught to the clinical staff so that they can have a clear understanding of the motivations of our peer workers.

Peer Supervision forms a vital part of our structure and is held monthly by our Senior Peer Worker. The conceptual basis of this practice is found in Narrative Therapy in a practice called “Outsider Witnessing Ceremony”(White,1990). This is a reflection based practice that helps the group identify strengths and alternative stories within their practice.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: The evaluation of a 2 year trial of Health oriented Peer Support Workers.

Learning Objective 2: Describes the expansion of the Peer Support workforce

Repper, J., & Carter, T. (2011). A review of the literature on peer support in mental health services. Journal of Mental Health, 20(4), 392-411.
Gallagher, C ., & Halpin, M.(2014) The Lived Experience Workforce in Aouth Australian Public Mental Health Services. Central Adelaide Local Health Network, Adelaide, South Australia)

This resource is only available for subscribers. If you have a subscription, please log in. Otherwise, click here to purchase a subscription.