Peer Support as a Strategy for Reducing Hospital Readmissions Among Older Adults with Chronic Medical Illness and Depression

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Peer support, Home and community based care and Services, Hospitalizations


Reducing hospital readmissions has become a national priority, and there has been a strong push to identify strategies that reduce the number of hospital readmissions for high-risk patients. Recent evidence suggests adding peer support to Care Transitions Interventions may reduce hospital readmissions among older adult patients; however there is a dearth of research examining mechanisms through which added peer support may impact outcomes. This paper qualitatively examined the mechanisms through which peer support impacts outcomes after hospitalization from the perceptions of diverse older adults (N=11) recently discharged from the hospital living with a chronic illness and co-occurring clinical depression. Participants were recruited from Tampa General Hospital located in Tampa Florida in the United States. Through thematic analysis, we identified three mechanisms through which peer support may impact hospital readmissions: increased self-efficacy in self-management of disease, connection to community resources and improved mental health literacy. This study suggests that peer support is a valuable approach towards enhancing the benefit and reach of evidence-based Care Transitions Programs.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Mental Health and Aging, v. 2, issue 2, p. 40-46