Power of Peers (POP)

The original POP Pilot Project was implemented based on the fact that individuals being discharged from South Florida State Hospital face many challenges. It was acknowledged that the first thirty (30) days from discharge are critical in terms of the person’s successful transition to the community.

In an effort to assist with this transition, a pool of certified Peer Specialists were identified to best match the person being discharged in terms of age, sex, culture, and other factors. They began to visit the hospital resident within 30 days of discharge and develop a relationship with them. On the day of discharge, the peer meets them at their new “home” wherever that is (ALF, residential program, family home, SRO, etc) and helps them acclimate to their new surroundings. They continue to assist the individual with whatever they need, link them to a drop-in center as appropriate or other support services, work with them to develop a WRAP Plan, and other activities of the person’s choosing. Together the peer and the person served would decide how often and how long the connection would remain. This Peer Specialist becomes a “natural support” and can make a difference in how well the person succeeds in the community.

It is important that the Peer Specialists work under a licensed clinician to insure if there are any serious issues that arise, they can be addressed professionally and swiftly, particularly if clinical intervention is indicated. Regular supervision meetings are required so case issues are addressed and also to make sure that the peers are receiving clinical oversight for their own well-being.

Based on the success of this pilot program, it has been expanded to include those Baker Act receiving facilities and detoxification units funded by Broward Behavioral Health Coalition. It is anticipated that inclusion of these facilities and linkage to peers in recovery, will result in a reduction of readmissions for Baker Acts and/or detoxification. The selected Peer Specialists are employed by 9Muses and Rebel’s Drop-In Centers, and South Florida Wellness Network. .

During the course of their contacts, the Peer Specialists would also have contact with the facility staff and the case manager, if applicable to insure communication is maintained.

Requirements of the Peer Specialists providing services:
1. Complete WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) Training within 4 months of hire
2. Complete Peer Specialist Training to obtain certification through the Florida Certification Board within one (1) year of hire

Following are some of the activities to be tracked:
1. Number of contacts on a weekly basis
2. Identify linkage to services/activities
3. Requests of the person discharged
4. Clinical intervention referrals
5. Supervision activities with the licensed clinician
6. Others to be determined

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