ED to Home: Innovating With Peer Support

The new financial year sees the culmination of MIFWA’s ED to Home Program, a program that impacted over 650 individuals on their recovery journey.

From 2017 until 2021, MIFWA’s ED to Home Program provided crucial support to over 650 individuals who presented to the Emergency Department in an extreme state of mental health distress.

Like the Hospital to Home Program, ED to Home provided practical assistance from peer support workers to ensure a smooth transition from hospital to daily life at home and its myriad of demands. The scheme received referrals directly from St John of God and Midland Public Hospital ED, and enabled people to feel a sense of safety and support while fostering contacts within the community and health services to increase their sense of inclusion and participation.

“Very thankful this program exists; it should be even more promoted to anyone coming from ED/in hospital”.

The Impact of ED to Home

Findings from a 2019 Outcome evaluation survey indicated a positive impact on the quality of life of the program’s participants. The survey revealed overwhelmingly that the program had increased access to relevant community supports and services and made the experience of being discharged from hospital easier.

“I found it very helpful how quickly MIFWA organised to come to my house after ED visit. I really appreciated the immediate help and support”.

Kates’s Experience

Kate engaged in five face-to-face visits. Support was based around meeting up in public spaces as Kate was experiencing social anxiety.

Kate identified that due to a period of self-isolation she was fearful of social situations. She used these sessions as “practice” and reported she felt more confident and comfortable by the end of the program. Kate said she liked the peer aspect of the program as she felt her peer worker was “more approachable” and “less intimidating” compared to clinical staff she had encountered in ED.

Meagan’s Experience

Meagan engaged in 16 home visits with her peer worker. Support was around debriefing around her professional life and the challenges she faced in her workplace which had led her to her feelings of isolation and suicidal ideation.

Meagan’s peer worker provided information on support groups in her local area and linked her to a psychiatrist and to DBT, which she had identified as a possible course of therapy.

Maegan stated she was grateful for the support and encouragement she received alongside the practical advice.

Innovation Inspiring Others

The innovative approach of the ED to Home Program using peer support for vulnerable community members will be changed to the Ruah’s Choices Program. Thus, although we are saddened by the ending of this MIFWA program, we are also pleased that this form of support is still available to our community and that we have motivated others with our work.

“Thank you, Vanessa! You helped me make a difficult call and took me to hospital when needed, provide me support and friendship.”

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