Peer Support Workers (PSWs) are an essential component of any Recovery Focused organisation. PSWs are Trust staff who have specifically been employed in KMPT to use their personal experiences of their own mental health challenges in a formal role to support our service user on their recovery journey.
KMPT has 25 PSWs in many of the Trust’s care groups, fulfilling a unique role in the multi-disciplinary teams working on a 1:1 basis or co-facilitating group work with a member of the clinical staff in a variety of settings.
The evaluation looked at how the service has been received from the service users and the staff point of view, and as to whether we should expand the increase the numbers of Peer Workers across the Trust.
The evaluation tool used was the nationally recognised PREM (patient supported experience measure) the Inspire Survey and specially created questions for the staff.
Responses were collected from 32 service users and 38 staff (16 qualified nurses, 12 unqualified staff, 6 Occupational Therapist, 2 Social Worker, 1 Psychiatrist and 1 member of staff who did not detail their professional status).
The evaluation consisted of a survey of staff and service users. Both surveys consisted of two distinct sections, a quantitative part and a more anecdotal qualitative part giving rich results from both the staff and the service users. The outcome of the evaluation produced 4 central themes, support, empathy, understanding, and the time of involvement with the PSW.
The results from both surveys show that Peer Support has become a valued part of the Multi-disciplinary team in many varied care groups across the Trust. The overwhelming message that has come out of the evaluation is that both service users and the staff want more of them both in actual numbers of Peer Workers and to allow more time for the service users to engage with the peers.
Best practice identified:
Both service users and staff welcomed the Peer Support Worker service. PSW’s are well placed to further help and enhance services and recovery oriented practice in the team that they work in, often bringing new ideas and ways of managing one’s mental health on a day to day basis. The supportive nature of the PSW’s was evident throughout the qualitative data, and their honesty and realism when dealing with clients was inspirational.
It is felt that the evidence from this evaluation would support the growth of the PSW service across the trust. Both the service users and the staff have had good experiences of the PSWs and feel that more PSWs are wanted in all care groups.
PSWs many of them would like a bespoke training more in depth than our present training. This might also facilitate discussions in career progression and may help to upskill them, leading to advancement in to lead roles in Peer Support or other service development positions.
It would be useful to do the staff survey once a year to monitor and manage its growth and spread to keep the PSW Service a responsive and useful addition to the KMPT workforce.
It would also be appropriate to develop an in-house survey to be completed possibly every 2 years and to build a concrete evidence base for Peer Support as we move forward.