Purpose: While global pandemics such as the COVID-19 public health crisis are known to increase the likelihood of frontline health care workers experiencing the negative effects of stress and trauma, many health care workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic lack adequate support. This paper presents the findings of a social work led peer support model, COVID-19 Am I Resilient (cAIR), developed and deployed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: This quality improvement initiative was developed and piloted within the Clinical Education and Practice department at a large urban health care system. The pilot included provision of peer support through synchronous video presentations, one-on-one peer support, and resourcing and referral. Pilot outcomes of feasibility and staff engagement were evaluated using participant responses to an online survey as well as attendance records at project activities.
Implications: Developed to help frontline health care workers thrive in the midst, and wake, of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pilot study of the cAIR peer support model has implications for further development and implementation of peer support for typically underrepresented health care disciplines working during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as future public health emergencies.