The Queensland Paediatric Sepsis Program Peer Mentor Program (PMP) has been codesigned and developed in response to feedback from families with a child diagnosed with sepsis (surviving and bereaved). These parents and carers identified feeling isolated during and after their child’s hospital admission, and that this sense of isolation was amplified by the lack of understanding and information about sepsis within the community. These families sought validation and normalisation of their experience and a need to connect with others who had a level of understanding of their experience.
The PMP is co-designed by consumers and delivered by consumers. It aims to provide families with the unique understanding, encouragement, and support which only another parent or carer who has walked a similar path can provide.
Development of the PMP has been collaborative and considered, involving key stakeholders and our consumers, with guidance from The Australian Centre for Social Innovation. This has ensured establishment of a valued and sustainable program with formalised recruitment, onboarding, training and supervision components.
Peer Mentors have first-hand experience with the challenges and adjustment faced by mentees and hence can “walk alongside” the mentee, assisting them to navigate the sepsis journey. Mentors provide reassurance to mentees, normalisation of their experience, understanding of their grief and trauma and information about helpful services and resources.
Parents whose child had sepsis more than two years previously, surviving and bereaved, are eligible to apply to become a Peer Mentor. The PMP is available across the state on an online platform to ensure equity of access and mentors communicate using calls, video calls and emails.