Before adopting PEARLS, we recommend that your organization consider the following questions:
Does PEARLS align with our organizational mission? Commonly recognized organizational mission factors that support a decision to adopt PEARLS include: improving health (including behavioral health); focusing on the most common issues that older people face; and empowering clients to direct their own recovery by teaching them self-management skills.
Who will provide PEARLS? PEARLS counselors or coaches are typically existing staff within an organization that are trained to deliver the PEARLS intervention. These may include, but are not limited to, social workers, nurses, therapists, psychologists, health educators, or community health workers. Some organizations train full-time staff to provide PEARLS, while others train multiple providers to deliver PEARLS as one part of their job.
How will I screen for depression? Some organizations are currently screening for depression as part of their annual assessment or intake. For others, adding a brief, validated depression screening instrument will be key to identifying older people who may be eligible for PEARLS.
How will I recruit new clients for PEARLS? PEARLS is designed to reach vulnerable populations by being delivered in the home or other community-based settings. Your agency may already be reaching more isolated populations with your other programs and services. If not, you will need to partner with organizations that serve hard-to-reach older people, such as meals on wheels, area agencies on aging, or visiting nurse associations.
How will I train my new PEARLS providers? Check out the PEARLS training page for more information about options for training.
Who will provide clinical supervision? The PEARLS model requires a clinical supervisor for ongoing case review and consultation. The original research studies used a psychiatrist to provide clinical supervision; other options include clinicians who have expertise in late-life depression, medication management, problem-solving treatment and behavioral activation, and can communicate with a participant’s primary care provider as needed (such as licensed clinical social workers, geriatricians or other primary care providers, and psychiatric nurse practitioners). Supervision is typically provided in a group format, in-person or by phone, and occurs 1-2 times a month for 1-2 hours, depending on the number of counselors and clients. Clinical supervision provides ongoing training and support for PEARLS providers.
How will I collect data? Regular data collection is important for monitoring PEARLS process and outcome measures and adjusting as needed. Tracking data also allows an organization to monitor program fidelity and evaluate program benefits and challenges. The PEARLS Toolkit provides forms needed for data collection as well as several spreadsheets to facilitate data management. You may also consider an online data management system, such as WellWare, which provides both streamlined data collection and reporting.
Are we already delivering other evidence-based programs (EBPs)? Organizations that have successfully adopted, implemented, and sustained EBPs are in a good position to deliver PEARLS. Many EBPs include similar “ingredients” as PEARLS – an underlying theory of behavior change, background research studies to develop and test the program, and standardized training tools and implementation manuals and forms for program delivery.
The PEARLS Toolkit (201 pages) includes:
- background on the PEARLS program
- detailed instructions, guidance and tips about implementing PEARLS
- forms for recruitment and screening, PEARLS sessions, clinical supervision, and data management
You may download and use the PEARLS Toolkit at no cost. However, in order to receive the full benefit of the Toolkit and understand the PEARLS program thoroughly, we strongly encourage you to participate in a PEARLS training before implementing a program.