Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type

DNP Project

Project Team Faculty Member

Bernadette Sobczak

Project Team Faculty Member

Laurie Hopper


Peer support specialist, peer support, collaborative care, patient centered care, mental health


Peer support specialists (PSS) can deliver recovery care to those suffering with mental health and substance abuse issues; specifically, recuperative care is the fundamental principle in good practice for individuals with mental disease or substance abuse disorders. The goal of this quality improvement project was to improve the referral process to the in-house PSS at one Midwestern Veteran’s Administration Medical Center. Data from May and June 2021 was collected to determine the number of referrals prior to project implementation. The pre-implementation data showed twenty-four referrals from May and June 2021. Implementation occurred during the months of July and August 2021. Data was collected in the two-month period and although there was not an increase in the referrals as the project anticipated, the data did not show a large decrease in referrals either. Referrals were tracked from the initial consult by the provider and whether the patient made the follow up with the PSS. This may be due to multiple variables such the decreased patient visits during the intervention period, poor communication between primary care providers and the mental health team, as well as an influx of new providers to the clinic that did not receive pre-implementation education on the new process. Clinic staff, providers, and PSS provided feedback on the referral process and suggested continuing education to both new providers and LPNs that started in the clinic after implementation.

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