S27: Starting from scratch: Building a peer support workforce with Victorian clinical mental health services.

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By September 21, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Emma Cadogan

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Policy, Strategy,Change, Innovation, Reform

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: The Expanding Post Discharge Support initiative, funded through the 2014-15 budget, aims to reduce 28-day readmission rates through the provision of expanded post discharge supports to adults with complex mental health needs who are discharged from an acute inpatient mental health unit. The expanded post discharge support will be provided, for the first time in Victoria, through a peer support workforce.

All adult area mental health services in Victoria have employed peer support workers as part of initiative implementation.

The initiative presented a number of workforce challenges - the first being that there were possibly not enough peer support workers in Victoria to fill the 80+ anticipated roles, with very few likely to have experience in acute clinical settings.

Models of peer support, peer work practice, and number and mix of consumer and carer peer support workers differ from health service to health service. Timing of recruitment also varied from service to service, all of which created challenges for workforce development planning.

Collaborative workforce planning was undertaken to support health services and new peer support workers gain a better understanding of effective peer work practice, with the aim to create solid foundations for the new peer support workforce.

This paper will discuss challenges and share learnings from a government perspective on peer workforce development within a clinical setting.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1 & 2: After the is session participants will be able to:
• Describe some of the key challenges of implementing a statewide peer workforce development initiative.
• Describe the key enablers for implementing a statewide peer support workforce development program within a clinical setting

Learning Objective 2: Describe the service user, service and system benefits of providing the appropriate practice supports and training for lived experience workforce.

Department of Health and Human Services Victoria, 2016 ‘Preparing your organisation for the Expanding Post-discharge Support Initiative’, Health.Vic, retrieved 13 March 2017, https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/Api/downloadmedia/%7B81B3D16D-00B3-4809-982F-9123D98320C5%7D
Watson S, 2013 ‘Peer workforce development’, Centre of Excellence in Peer Support, May 2015, retrieved 13 March 2017, www.peersupportvic.org/index.php/2014-12-15-22-42-26/2014-12-16-02-20-10/News-and-Events/Sandy-Watson-Keynote/.

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