Helping Patients: Peer Recovery Support

Nicole Kordus and Natalie Stanard offer patients much more than resources and help for their addiction. They also bring “street cred.”

As peer recovery coaches, they have walked the walk and use their own journeys to recovery as launching pads to encourage patients with substance use disorder in ThedaCare’s Emergency Departments in Neenah, Berlin and Shawano.

When someone comes to the emergency department in the middle of an addiction crisis, a new program offers hope and support from a peer that has walked a similar journey.

“When I am talking with someone in the emergency department, I will disclose things about myself to help them not feel ashamed or embarrassed and to also let them know that I have been in their situation and I understand. I always tell them that these isn’t much they can say that will surprise me, and that I have most likely done the same thing at some point in my life.” – Nicole Kordus, Peer Recovery Coach

When Natalie shares her story with patients, she can feel them let their guard down. At a time when they are feeling hopeless, exhausted and alone it lets them know, “I’ve been in that same spot. I overdosed twice myself and you don’t have to do this alone anymore.”

Nicole and Natalie are two of 13 recovery coaches and certified peer support specialists in the new Emergency Department to Recovery Plus Program (ED2R+) that was recently launched by ThedaCare.

Their roles are to connect with patients and offer support, resources, community recovery options and most importantly – to offer hope from someone who has been there. They are motivators, allies, role models, problem solvers and advocates for individuals with these disorders.

Both Nicole and Natalie have been trained and certified through Apricity, a Neenah-based recovery organization.

“Peer support is shown to offer a level of backing that increases success in recovery. It can be as simple as having someone to call when they are having a difficult day, or suggestions about speaking with loved ones about their addiction. We want those who are in the beginning stages of their recovery to have access to any resources that might support them.” – Sadie Bodenbach, Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor and Recovery Coach with Apricity.

To get the program started, funding from numerous sources was essential. ThedaCare and Apricity, as partners, received a $100,000 grant from Wisconsin Voices for Recovery, as well as support from the Fox Cities CHAT Team (Community Health Action Team) and Basic Needs Giving Partnership, which is supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs within the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, the J.J. Keller Foundation, and other community partners.

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