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Peer respites

What is a peer respite?

A peer respite is an alternative support for individuals who are in distress. A peer respite is a voluntary, short term overnight support that is in a home-like environment—usually a residence—with all trained peer workers. Peer support is the main service provided in a peer respite.

Peer respites also:

  • Are voluntary and self-referred.
  • Do not provide medical services, such as prescribing medication or medication management.
  • Often serve as hospital diversions.
  • Offer one on one and group peer support, sometimes with additional learning opportunities and supports.
  • Empower people to discover what is best for their wellness.
  • Are trauma-informed and rooted in recovery values.

How will they be implemented?

Peer respites are being funded by a 2019 bill: House Bill 1394. Although nationally, the majority of peer respites are not funded by Medicaid, the initial peer respites in Washington will be partly Medicaid funded.

Medicaid funding brings with it clinical requirements that create challenges in implementing a peer respite. These requirements include formal clinical assessments and notes as well as supervision by a mental health professional (MHP) who is a certified peer counselor.

Despite these challenges, peer respites are an alternative that Washington needs. They are a helpful new resource in the continuum of care. We will work with national experts and stakeholders to implement them in the most effective manner.

Stakeholders, including peers, are playing a large role in creating implementation models and their assistance has been invaluable. Peers advocate passionately for non-Medicaid, fidelity peer respite models. Although not all recommendations can be implemented, stakeholders are helping ensure Washington’s first peer respites will be as close to the model as possible.  

How can I learn more?

People USA is creating a series of webinars to help people better understand peer respites and peer respite implementation. You will need to log in with a name and email.