Peer Support Evaluation Tool
In 2011 the Chronic Illness Alliance conducted a literature review that showed that peer support was generally poorly evaluated. This means that peer support groups have very little evidence to show just how much benefit members get from being part of a support group. Without the evidence from evaluations health professionals continue to be reluctant to refer their patients to peer support groups or offer their own time in attending support group meetings.
Evaluations can be expensive especially when they are carried out by teams of experts. But they needn't be! With some simple resources and tools we can all do our own evaluations.
Our tool allows you to assess how your support group contributes to members' well-being, that is, just how much better people feel because they come to the group. You will then be able to enter your results, which will only be identified by a unique identifier (a special number) only known to you, in an on-line database. You will then receive a report with comparisons to other groups. This gives support group leaders the opportunity:
- to see where a group can enhance its own performance and to show;
- where it does well relative to other groups;
- to use them as a guide to improve the group, such as when you are planning the next year's activities or you want to increase memberships;
- use them to demonstrate to local health professionals that a support group is doing a good job thus encouraging referrals;
- or provide a report to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or a philanthropic trust, when applying for funding.
Resources consist of:
- Well Being survey which you can ask as many members as possible to complete.
- A larger survey which you can complete on behalf of the whole group. You can complete it alone or with the help of others.
- An on-line site to enter all the results which will give you a report with only a unique identifier attached so that all results remain confidential.
The Chronic Illness Alliance will have access to these results but only in a de-identified form, that is, we will not know whose results we are looking at. But this will allow the Alliance to see where it can help peer support groups to improve and whether there are further resources that would assist support groups. As these data are collected across the many support groups in Victoria it means there is a growing body of evidence that peer support has a contribution to make to the well-being of the Victorian community.