How Peer Support is Improving Health and Safety

September 21, 2017 | News


Lindsay Eldridge is the General Manager of Nurse Next Door Home Care Services, in Delta, and she credits SafeCare BC’s Peer Resource Network for helping to enhance her organization’s health and safety programs.

“Being part of the Network and collaborating with like-minded organizations allowed us to create a formal Return-to-Work program,” she says. “Before, we had no formalized process for staff returning to work after injury. We would address injuries as a one-off, and never able to offer modified work duties. It is great that we can learn from other home care companies.”

The Peer Resource Network is a 12-18 month peer support forum that aims to connect leadership teams from similar organizations to foster the development of a culture of safety. These small-group cohorts meet for three in-person sessions, and then continue the discussion in a series of teleconference over a six to twelve-month period.

Eldridge realized that there was much more opportunity for staff by having a formalized Return-to-Work program, because in consultation with their doctor, staff can return to work sooner with a modified schedule or duties. “The number one benefit is that employees are able to return to work sooner. This is good for the employee and the employer,” she says. “It’s better for the employee’s mental wellness and recovery to return to work as soon as they are physically able. It also means that clients aren’t going without care because of a shortage of staff.”

One of Eldridge’s staff has been off work for almost a year, because of a car accident, and now they are able to offer a return to work with modified or light duties, something that wasn’t considered before. “When I told her that returning to work on a reduced schedule could be an option, she was so excited,” says Eldrige. “This person is busy and outgoing, and not being able to work has been difficult for her.”

Eldridge’s office has about 65 staff, representing Care Aides, RNs, LPNs, and some staff not involved in the direct-care. She says having a Return-to-Work program is one more thing we can offer our staff.

SafeCare BC will be holding more Peer Resource Network cohorts in the coming year. If you are interested in learning more, send us a note by email to info@safecarebc.ca