Peers-Fostering-Hope-A-Peer-Support-Model-for-Stroke-Recovery Peers Fostering Hope - A Peer Support Model for Stroke Recovery

Peers Fostering Hope - A Peer Support Model for Stroke Recovery


​Jocelyne McKellar1, Donna Mackay2, Joanna Mackie3Peer Support Model for Stroke Recovery

1. Toronto West Stroke Network, 2. March of Dimes Canada, 3. The Potential Group

Peers Fostering Hope Presentation Introduction

Peers Fostering Hope: A Peer Support Model for Stroke Recovery presents a support model based on the expressed needs of people living with stroke and their caregivers, collected from interviews. It outlines peer education requirements, the role of peers, program benefits and the next steps that were taken.

Peer Support Model Background

Stroke is a life altering experience. People living with stroke (PLWS) and caregivers often lack the necessary skills, awareness and knowledge to cope with the changes to self-identity, personal relationships and life after stroke. Qualitative interviews conducted in 2010 with PLWS and caregivers revealed the need for peer support, more individualized hopeful care, system navigation support and improved healthcare provider relationships1. Below are some examples of these expressed needs:

  • "Better support for emotional work ahead."
  • "Seeing someone who embodies survival."
  • "Positive hope from someone who has gone through it."
  • "More opportunities to meet with people who've had a stroke earlier in the process - right from acute - to better understand and anticipate 
     what might be happening"

Engaging in conversations with others who share a similar experience can profoundly affect the course of recovery by initiating optimism and new possibilities for the future. Research demonstrates that offering peer support throughout the care continuum can positively impact the quality of life for those living with stroke and their caregivers, reduce social isolation, gain understanding of stroke recovery, enhance their ability to cope, and provide motivation and hope.

Peers Fostering Hope focuses on emotional support and knowledge exchange to provide hope, empowerment and adjustment to life post stroke as well as improve recovery and quality of life.

Peers Fostering Hope is part of a larger systems change initiative called Transition Improvement for Continuity of Care. Its purpose is to improve the life experience of people and families living with stroke by creating an improved, integrated and sustainable person-centered​ model of care across the system in Toronto.

For over a year, a dedicated group of PLWS, caregivers and cross-continuum healthcare providers co-created the vision and design of this innovative program. Learnings from other peer support programs (MS Society, Ontario Brain Injury Association, Linking Survivors with Survivors – Stroke Recovery Canada) were also incorporated in our design.

Read the full Peers Fostering Hope: A Peer Support Model for Stroke Recovery presentation.