By November 30, 2017, we will improve by 30 percent the number of people using peer support who perceive that the service they receive is aligned with underlying values: hope and recovery; self-determination; empathetic and equal relationships; dignity, respect and social inclusion; integrity, authenticity and trust; health and wellness, and; lifelong learning and personal growth.
EQIP Support to the Project
- QI coach: Laura Daly-Trottier
Peer support is not the first thing that comes to mind when we think about what we can do to improve the experience and outcomes for those accessing mental health and addiction services. But the Mississauga Halton LHIN’s System Integration Group for Mental Health and Addictions (SIGMHA) identified peer supports as the highest priority for addressing mental health and addiction service needs in their region in 2014/2015. The MH LHIN’s Enhancing and Sustaining Peer Support initiative, led by Support and Housing-Halton through its peer support initiative: TEACH (Teach Empower Advocate Community Health) has been in place since 2015 to address this priority area. Widespread throughout the MH LHIN area, the initiative has 40 paid peer positions embedded across 11 accredited LHIN-funded health care organizations including hospitals and community providers.
The initiative is making a difference in the health outcomes for those living with mental health and addictions. It provides hope, empowerment and self-determination to individuals, supports recovery-oriented practice within health care organizations through consultation and conversations with co-workers, peer workers, peer supervisors and leaders within the partner health care organizations. Altogether, this helps create workplaces focused on personal self-care and wellness.
The team knows that peer support is not always well understood within the formal walls of the health care system. The TEACH team immediately recognized the opportunity of getting additional QI support from E-QIP’s province-wide initiative to enhance their work to increase the understanding of the value of peer support.
“It was a perfect opportunity for us to add more QI bench-strength and knowledge to our project,” said Betty-Lou. “Equally important, it was an opportunity to collaborate with like-minded organizations across Ontario, and even showcase our work so that many more people living with mental health and/or addiction issues in our province can benefit from peer support as part of their formalized health care interaction. Being involved with E-QIP has given the work even more focus.”
They’ve learned ways to use QI mechanisms such as Root Cause Analysis, Fishbone Diagram, The 5 Whys and Pareto Charting to identify their problem statement, root cause, change ideas, triangulate scope / boundaries, create an aim statement, identify key milestones/ timelines and develop barriers and mitigation strategies. All these tools led them to develop their E-QIP Project Charter.
Through this work, ultimately, everyone agreed that the root cause of the re-occurring issue of clarity and definition of peer support roles.
Peer Support is based on values including: hope and recovery; self-determination; empathetic and equal relationships; dignity, respect and social inclusion; integrity, authenticity and trust; health and wellness, and; lifelong learning and personal growth. They want to determine the degree to which these values are perceived to be present by people receiving peer services. The results of this will drive additional QI processes regarding trainings, support, organizational culture and philosophy shifts to foster values based peer support.
As Laura explains, “They have applied the tools in a practical way, sharing their new found knowledge with others helping to increase the capacity for quality improvement in the sector.”
Their work has already inspired comments like this from a person who received peer support, “Peer support was a life saver for me. It was the first time that I felt someone understood me from over a dozen hospital admissions where there had been no peer workers.” With their continued focus, their work will reach more people with mental health and addiction problems.