Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World

A Taiwanese Approach to Peer Support

April 29, 2013

With support from the government, as well as diabetes experts and patient communities, patient support groups in Taiwan have grown in number significantly. To date, there are more than 450 patient support groups across the island, serving over 1.5 million people with diabetes. These support groups provide opportunities for people with diabetes to connect and learn from each other and one of their main functions is to provide social and emotional support. However, the group support model alone provides a limited range of interactions and inadequately promotes ongoing interaction among participants.

In early 2013, the Taiwanese Association of Diabetes Educators (TADE), headed by Dr. Neng Chun Yu, kicked off an initiative to work with their domestic partners and Peers for Progress (PfP) to promote and enhance peer support. The initiative has outlined three key strategies:

  1. Clearly define roles of a clinical team and peer supporter (patient experts)
  2. Organize joint efforts to conduct regional workshops to help train patient experts and CDEs
  3. Provide resources and ongoing technical support to encourage development and enhancement of CDE-supervised peer support programs

In March, senior program manager Maggy Coufal was invited to facilitate the first in-country training workshop of this initiative. Approximately 50 potential patient experts and CDEs from approximately 15 hospitals, clinics, and patient organizations attended this workshop in Taipei.

The workshop was 8 hours long, and consisted of 8 training sessions for peer supporters and one for CDEs. Topics covered how to work with a clinical care team to provide self-management support, critical self-care behaviors, communication and support, interpretation of key indicators related to health, problem-solving techniques, and encouragement of peer supporters to build motivation and engagement.

Read more about peer support in Taiwan and Maggy’s reflections on the training workshop in our latest feature.

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