Glenn Gray – Day in the Life of our SII Peer Support Co-ordinator

Glenn Gray talks about his role as the Peer Support Co-ordinator for Spinal Injuries Ireland

How many days do you work at SII?

I currently work three days a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

What is your job title?

I have a number of areas which I am responsible for but my main role is Peer Support Co-ordinator.

How did you get involved with this role?

I first got involved with the peer support role when I applied for a job opening that I saw advertised for Spinal Injuries Ireland. At the time I was living in France but I returned home for an interview, got the job, and moved back to Ireland to take up the role.

What does your role involve?

As the Peer Support Co-ordinator, there is a number of aspects to the role. Firstly, I am the first point of contact from Spinal Injuries Ireland (SII) for patients admitted into the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH). I meet with each patient individually, explain the services we have on offer, chat to them about any concerns they might have regarding their recovery, discuss their goals and encourage them to engage with the peer support service we have on offer.

Every Monday night, I also run the peer support meetings in the lecture room at the NRH from 7pm to 8pm. This gives patients an opportunity to meet with mentors who have been living with a spinal cord injury for some time and provides them with someone they can link in with on an ongoing basis for support.

Lastly, I also organise peer support for patients after they are discharged from the NRH. When patients return home, I link them in with someone living in their county or area with the same level of injury as them. Being able to link up with a peer support mentor can be very beneficial when adjusting to life post-injury as it’s important to know that there is someone close by that can provide support and advice when needed.

Peer support, in my eyes, is extremely important for patients to access. I have seen patients get great inspiration from peer mentors and to be able to speak to someone who truly understands what you are going through is of enormous benefit.

I myself, would have availed of peer support had it been available when I was a patient in the NRH 20 years ago.

Any other aspects to your role?

Yes, during the winter months, I organise weekly trips to the cinema on a Tuesday night with patients who are currently in the NRH. We provide a mini bus that takes patients to and from the cinema and we cover the cost of the cinema tickets and refreshments.

Also, I run the airsoft target shooting once a week in the NRH sports hall. This is available to any patients in the NRH or anyone living locally who would like to come along and try it out. We have always had a great response to the airsoft target shooting and it always makes for a fun evening.

Contact

If you would like to get involved with the peer support service or if you have any questions you can contact Glenn Gray on (01) 6532180/0872323205 or email glenn@spinalinjuries.ie

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