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Exploring peer-mentoring for community dwelling older adults with chronic low back pain: a qualitative study

Abstract

Objectives

To explore the perceptions of patients, physiotherapists, and potential peer mentors on the topic of peer-mentoring for self-management of chronic low back pain following discharge from physiotherapy.

Design

Exploratory, qualitative study.

Participants

Twelve patients, 11 potential peer mentors and 13 physiotherapists recruited from physiotherapy departments and community locations in one health board area of the UK.

Interventions

Semi-structured interviews and focus groups.

Main outcome measures

Participants’ perceptions of the usefulness and appropriateness of peer-mentoring following discharge from physiotherapy. Data were processed and analysed using the framework method.

Results

Four key themes were identified: (i) self-management strategies, (ii) barriers to self-management and peer-mentoring, (iii) vision of peer-mentoring, and (iv) the voice of experience. Peer-mentoring may be beneficial for some older adults with chronic low back pain. Barriers to peer-mentoring were identified, and many solutions for overcoming them. No single format was identified as superior; participants emphasised the need for any intervention to be flexible and individualised. Important aspects to consider in developing a peer-mentoring intervention are recruitment and training of peer mentors and monitoring the mentor–mentee relationship.

Conclusions

This study has generated important knowledge that is being used to design and test a peer-mentoring intervention on a group of older people with chronic low back pain and volunteer peer mentors. If successful, peer-mentoring could provide a cost effective method of facilitating longer-term self-management of a significant health condition in older people.

Cite this article

Exploring peer-mentoring for community dwelling older adults with chronic low back pain: a qualitative study.

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