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

Kay Cooper (Lead / Corresponding author), Patricia Schofield, Susan Klein, Blair Smith, Llinos Mary Jehu

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    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages8
    Early online date26 May 2016
    Publication statusPublished - May 2016


    • Chronic low back pain
    • peer-support
    • peer-mentoring
    • selfmanagement
    • older adults


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