Dr Rebecca Foster & Dr Tessa Parkes
Dr Tessa Parkes
Dr Tessa Parkes is Director of the Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research at the University of Stirling and is grantholder and Deputy Convenor of the Drugs Research Network Scotland. Tessa has expertise in the field of drug and alcohol (prevention, treatment, harm reduction, policy analysis, peer-delivered interventions) homelessness/housing, mental health, and social inequalities. She has experience as a front-line worker and manager in the health, social care and housing/homelessness sectors, and as a mental health nurse. She has experience of undertaking substance use / mental health research in England and Canada, as well as in Scotland, and is passionate about the potential of research partnerships with people with experiential knowledge/peers and affected family members. She has served on many related committees including the Scottish Government’s Partnership for Action on Drugs in Scotland Executive group, the Dundee Drugs Commission, and Scotland’s new drug-related deaths Task Force.
Dr Rebecca Foster
Research Fellow, Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research, University of Stirling.
I am a Research Fellow for an NIHR funded study ‘Supporting Harm Reduction through Peer Support’ (SHARPS) and for an NHS Fife funded study exploring prescription opioid overdose risk.
Prior to this, I worked as a social researcher in the Scottish Government in the crime research team. I completed my PhD in Criminology at the University of Glasgow which explored the experiences of imprisonment for the families of prisoners.
My research interests span problem substance use, homelessness and criminal justice. I am particularly interested in the lived experience of marginalised individuals and groups.
Supporting harm reduction through peer support (SHARPS): Testing the feasibility and acceptability of a peer delivered, relational intervention for people with problem substance use who are homeless, to improve health outcomes, quality of life and social functioning, and reduce harms
Our National Institute for Health Research funded study (SHARPS) involves Peer Navigators providing a ‘relational intervention’ for people who are experiencing homelessness and problem substance use.The Peer Navigators have lived experience of homelessness and/or problem substance use. They draw from this to support study participants, practically and emotionally, to improve their health and wellbeing and reduce harms. We know from many projects in the UK, and internationally, that peer workers offer valuable support to people with a range of different challenges, yet this support still requires further explication in the field of substance use.
SHARPS is mixed-methods feasibility and acceptability study to explore if the Peer Navigator intervention is feasible and acceptable to: service users, members of staff in services, and the local context. The team are using Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) to understand these dynamics.
The Peer Navigators are based in third sector hostel/outreach settings in Scotland and the north of England.
The Peer Navigators are each working with a caseload of around 15 individuals.
Please see ‘aims’.
SHARPS is a mixed methods study – quantitative data (socio-demographic information and health information) will be collected from intervention participants, and qualitative data will be collected via observations in all settings, and interviews with participants, Peer Navigators and staff.
Findings and conclusions
In this poster, we will focus on how the study team are using NPT to inform the design and implementation of this unique intervention.
Poster link: Supporting harm reduction through peer support (SHARPS): Testing the feasibility and acceptability of a peer delivered, relational intervention for people with problem substance use who are homeless, to improve health outcomes, quality of life and social functioning, and reduce harms