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Thread: What kind of Peer Support programs are there for new injuries in your area?

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  1. #1
    Senior Member mk99's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    toronto, canada

    What kind of Peer Support programs are there for new injuries in your area?

    Up here in Ontario we have a great program called Peer Support run by the Canadian Paraplegic Association. The idea is to reach all new injuries as soon as possible after injury by a "peer" who is closely matched to your situation. (ie: injury level, age, etc). This "peer" can answer a lot of questions and become a sort of guide... as well as a friend when entering the SCI world.

    I am wondering if there is some kind of equivalent in your area and how does it work? I am also looking for some evidence to show that it makes a difference, etc.

    thank you!

  2. #2
    The CPA peer support who came to see me made all the difference. It was about 3 weeks after my injury, I was still in ICU on a ventilator when a young, pretty, well dressed confident young women rolled in. Only then did I realize what I could still become.

    "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow"
    ~ Anon

  3. #3
    Senior Member PB72181's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    There's no equivalent here that I know of, and if there is, I wasn't signed up for it. I wish there was, though. I think that would have been great...not only to show me what I was still capable of, but also to have a friend, a mentor...someone who has already been down that road who can help along the way.

    I'm not deaf...I'm just ignoring you!

  4. #4
    Senior Member amanda's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Arkansas, USA
    There is a SCI support group that meets in my county. But, I have yet to attend a meeting. I've been wanting to go...but, somehow I always miss the date.
    Also, Arkansas has the Arkansas Spinal Cord Comission. I was assigned a case worker, and she checks in on me every once in a while. They will help with funding of various aspects of SCI; ramps, chairs, etc. The comission has been a tremendous help in adjusting and gaining knowledge. As a matter of fact, it was through them that I found CC.

    "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."
    Franklin D. Roosevelt

  5. #5
    In rehab at TIRR in Texas, we had something similar. My experience was like Emi's, a young pretty career girl who lived alone in a house remodelled just for her. I remember my roommate got mad at me..."Why didn't you ask her?" "Ask her what?" "About SEX!!!!"

    We have a sci group here in Oklahoma. I go visit new injuries when they need an incomplete injury to "display". I don't know if it does any good, but I hope so.

    C5/6 incomplete, injured Aug. 2000

  6. #6
    I am lucky to work in a VA SCI Center, with the local chapter of PVA in an office across the hall from me. They make rounds on the unit on a daily basis, and I know many of the members so can often suggest a peer who might be a good match for a new injury I am screening for admission. We always get the patient's consent first before arranging a visit.

    In my previous job (private sector) I helped set up a peer support program. We interviewed a number of potential peer counselors and all attended a one day training. It was important to be sure everyone was up to speed on the latest in SCI care as well as for the low paras to learn about things they may not have learned in rehab (like about AD) or for the higher quads to learn about what was possible for gait training. We combined this training with communication and basic counseling skills as well as exercises in values clarification and ethics. Each of the peers was precepted by an experienced social worker or psychologist for their first 5 referrals.

    In some areas the NSCIA chapter has a peer support program. We had one where I live for a while, but unfortunately the chapter folded due to lack of participation.

    Many times I find that wheelchair sports organizations serve an invaluable role as an informal peer support program as well.

    Of course we all have Care/Cure...too bad we don't get enough people on-line here as soon as they are injured. I do spend a lot of time at conferences trying to get the word out to clinical people to get their patients here ASAP.


  7. #7
    Senior Member mk99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    toronto, canada
    Thanks everyone for the feedback! So fast too.

    Are there any studies done on the efficacy of these type of "peer support" programs? We all know they work and are great... but I need some data (and not just anecdotal) to show that these programs work.

    I too benefitted greatly from the program and am still friends with my peer support. Of course, I am 100% focused on cure while he is not interested at all (so he says) BUT a friendship can overcome such differences.

  8. #8
    Long Beach Memorial Hospital in Southern California has monthly events for people with Spinal Cord injuries. I don't know if I would really call it a real peer support program.


  9. #9
    I recently started mentoring at Mount Sinai's Peer Mentoring Program in New York City. Not sure how long it's been around, 4 years at least.

  10. #10
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Chicago IL
    I can say that I could have used something like this when I was newly injured. Fast forward to present day, another board member and myself are supposed to go to 'training' for a peer support program at the local rehab center at the end of the month so we can do just that. Should be cool to be able to give others a different take on post-SCI life beyond the clinical description that is usually given.

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