After completing the first year of this project, Health Issues Centre recognised an ongoing need by chronic disease peer support group leaders to:
improve the quality of their role as peer leaders
better understand what it means to engage more actively in one's own health care decisions
engage with health organisations as consumer advocates.
Furthermore, a regular point of discussion throughout the project was the need to change the mindset of health professionals towards the role of peer support in chronic disease care.
The second year of the empowering participation project therefore aimed to address these needs while providing a more flexible format of training that would better suit peer support group leaders and staff of health-related organisations.
Who did we partner with?
Chronic disease peer support groups, chronic disease peak bodies as well as health services and medicare locals
The project was funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Health Conditions Support Grant.
How did we go about it?
We delivered a suite of training workshops for three key audiences:
Chronic disease peer support group leaders and members
Peer support coordinators working in peak organisations such as Diabetes Victoria, Brainlink, Victorian Aids Council, Heart Foundation and Multiple Sclerosis Australia
Health professionals who provide care for people with chronic health conditions
What was achieved?
Chronic disease peer support groups
Through consultations with chronic disease organisations and their peer support group leaders, we developed and ran four training workshops:
Using social media and other platforms: risks or opportunities
Take charge – exercising your power in healthcare relationships
Strengthening your peer support group through community engagement
Peer support leadership – what does it take?
A total of 120 existing and potential peer support group leaders and members attended the workshops. They represented over 20 chronic disease sectors including cancer, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, stroke, eating disorders and cystic fibrosis.
Peer support coordinators of chronic disease organisations
Staff of chronic disease organisations were invited to the peer support group leader training workshops.
In addition, we ran a one-day workshop for 18 peer support coordinators to share and exchange learnings with each other on topics such as:
Models of peer support delivered in Victoria
Starting new peer support groups in rural and regional areas
Training and supporting peer leaders in their roles
Evaluating peer support group programs within their respective organisations
We partnered with two metropolitan and two rural health services to deliver four 2.5 hour workshops on patient centred care and peer support: a marriage made in heaven.
The health services were Monashlink, cohealth, Ballarat Health and Alpine Health.
104 health professionals participated in the training workshops which included nurses, care coordinators, allied health professionals, social workers and health promotion workers.