Abstract NS17: One Hospital's Experience in Establishing a Stroke Peer Visitor Program
Background and Purpose: Literature suggests that despite being overwhelmed during the acute phase of stroke, patients and families want and are accepting of the support a peer visitor can provide. While patients undergoing acute rehabilitation services in our organization were exposed to a stroke peer visitor network, there was no equivalent peer program for in-patient stroke survivors. Therefore, the purpose was to design, develop and implement a stroke peer visitor program for hospital in-patients.
Methods: Using the ShareGivers™ Peer Visiting program resources as a guide, an in-patient stroke peer visiting program was designed and implemented. Recruitment and training of stroke survivor peer mentors was followed by individualized on-site orientation and program implementation. Evaluations of the program were ongoing.
Results: Through 23 weeks of program implementation, six stroke peer visitors contributed 111 hours making 61 patient visits. Stroke peer visitors contributed an average of 5 hours per week. Stroke in-patients welcomed the visits from the peer visitors. Feedback was positive from nursing staff, patients/families and the peer visitors. Common responses were, “I love it when the stroke volunteers are here”, “so helpful to hear from someone who’s been there”, “the patient/family had so many questions”, “had a great visit”.
Conclusions: Participant feedback suggests peer visits in the acute phase of stroke recovery are important, beneficial and inspirational. Desire for growth of the program is reflected in requests for annual orientation, adding more peer volunteers, partnering new with experienced volunteers during training and introducing area hospitals to a central peer visiting training concept. Implication for future nursing research includes quantifying the benefits of peer visitation for stroke survivors and their families while in the acute phase of stroke recovery.
Author Disclosures: C.J. Droegemueller: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.