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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.