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Hot off the Press: Models of Peer Support to Remediate PICS

SCCM’s THRIVE International Peer Support Collaborative recently conducted a study evaluating different models of peer support. The results are available in the January 2019 issue of Critical Care Medicine.
The Society of Critical Care Medicine’s (SCCM) THRIVE International Peer Support Collaborative recently conducted a study evaluating different models of peer support conducted at 17 collaborative sites. The results are available in the January 2019 Critical Care Medicine article “Models of Peer Support to Remediate Post-Intensive Care Syndrome.”
The collaborative is made up of critical care clinicians and researchers using hospital-based peer support models to improve outcomes for patients and their families after critical illness, specifically, outcomes related to the physical, cognitive, and psychological symptoms that are common among survivors—collectively known as post-intensive care syndrome (PICS).
McPeake et al (Crit Care Med. 2018;47:e21-e27) sought to provide a systematic approach to identify technical, safety, and procedural aspects of existing peer support models; categorize key distinctions between these models; and determine common barriers and facilitators across models.
The study consisted of 17 sites from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia and represented a range of healthcare professions. It focused on six general models of peer support, which were:
  1. Community-Based Model: Led by former patients and/or staff, this model offers patients and their caregivers the opportunity to discuss their critical care experience and ongoing recovery.
  2. Psychologist-Led Outpatient Model: Led by psychologists, this model is guided by psychologic principles with the aim of sharing and normalizing experiences.
  3. Models Based Within ICU Follow-Up Clinics: This unstructured peer support model gives patients and caregivers the opportunity to meet others and share information, encouragement, and advice in an informal setting.
  4. Online Model: Led by hospital organizations or patients and caregivers, this website model allows for peer support through online forums.
  5. Group-Based Model Based Within the ICU: Led by ICU staff, this model is designed for caregivers.
  6. Peer Mentor Model: This model connects patients further along in recovery with those who are still in the hospital environment.
Through these programs, the authors identified the following barriers to implementation: recruiting patients, personnel input and training, sustainability and funding, risk management strategies, and measuring success.
Though research on the effectiveness of peer support in the ICU survivor population is limited, studies such as this can help standardize reporting, define outcomes and measures, and develop future research of ICU survivor and family recovery.
Learn more about the collaborative by visiting SCCM’s THRIVE website.