After a death, debriefing for staff is essential, she says. “For that young staffer, we pulled him off the street for that day, put him back in here with the other coaches,” she says. “We also refer staff to the Employee Assistance Program.”
Experimenting with service models
“There’s a lot of experimentation going on with the emergency room outreach right now,” says Kimberly Johnson of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). “The Anchor program is one of the older programs, with well-established and clear protocols around engagement.”
What organizations need to think about in setting up these programs is clear protocols with the hospitals. “What does that engagement look like, who participates, how does the patient connect with the peer?” says Johnson. “Right now there is a lot of debate, but no good answers, about whether peers or other community health workers are the right people” to staff this outreach. “There’s not a lot of good research,” she adds.
In Ohio, law enforcement is doing the outreach. In New Hampshire, it’s the fire departments. Then there are the states where police departments are imitating the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative (PAARI) model, in which people can come in to police headquarters and ask for help, without fear of arrest.
It would be beneficial to find out if the results from law enforcement-related peer programs differ from those in programs run by health departments, such as Rhode Island’s, says Johnson. “That would be ripe for study,” she says, adding that she would mention this at the next national Clinical Trials Network meeting.