Evidence-Based Review of Peer Support
BACKGROUND/RATIONALE: Serious mental illness (SMI) is the second most costly medical disorder treated in the VHA. Despite these expenditures, clinical outcomes for these patients are often poor due to a combination of low quality care and severe cognitive and functional impairments. While these problems are multifaceted, studies outside the VHA have shown that the use of different types of peer support-those with SMI in recovery providing assistance and role modeling to other with SMI-can often improve and augment public care. This is because peer support addresses factors that contribute to poor outcomes at the patient level. They reduce social isolation and also facilitate patient involvement in the community-based service and supports. They also address outcomes at the system level by increasing patient access and moving services toward a recovery orientation. However, despite the presence of some empirical evidence, a thorough and concise systematic review of peer support is a critical first step in understanding more fully both its history and its future promise for the VHA.
OBJECTIVE(S): To review the evidence base for peer support to determine
STATUS: To begin in October 2006
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Last updated on 3/16/2010