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Training peers to support older people with chronic low back pain following physiotherapy discharge: a feasibility study.

Cooper, Kay; Jehu, Llinos M.; Klein, Susan; Smith, Blair H.; Schofield, Patricia


Llinos M. Jehu

Susan Klein

Blair H. Smith

Patricia Schofield


Objective - To determine the feasibility and acceptability of a training programme for peer volunteers to support older adults with chronic low back pain (CLBP) following discharge from physiotherapy. Design - Feasibility study. Setting - Community-based. Participants - 17 adults (4 male, 13 female) with CLBP or experience of supporting someone with CLBP enrolled and 12 (2 male, 10 female) completed the volunteer training. Intervention - Volunteers took part in a face-to-face or blended delivery peer support training programme based on the Mental Health Foundation's Principles into Practice and adapted for CLBP by the study team. Main outcome measures - Recruitment/retention rates; demographics; time & resources used to deliver training; training evaluation (questionnaire); knowledge questionnaire, and self-efficacy questionnaire. Results - Seventeen participants enrolled on the training programme (11 face-to-face, 6 blended delivery). 12 (71%) completed the training (73% face-to-face, 67% blended delivery). The training was positively evaluated. All but 2 participants passed the knowledge quiz at the end of the training, and the majority of self-efficacy scores (90%) were high. Conclusions - It is feasible to develop, implement and evaluate a peer support training programme for the facilitation of CLBP self-management in older adults following discharge from physiotherapy. Blended delivery of training may facilitate the recruitment of greater numbers of peer support volunteers in future studies. Supported self-management of CLBP pain is widely recommended but can be difficult to achieve. Peer support might be a promising method of facilitating CLBP self-management without additional burden to health services, and should be further evaluated in a larger study.


COOPER, K., JEHU, L.M., KLEIN, S., SMITH, B.H. and SCHOFIELD, P. 2018. Training peers to support older people with chronic low back pain following physiotherapy discharge: a feasibility study. Physiotherapy [online], 104(2), pages 239-247. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 13, 2017
Online Publication Date Jul 13, 2017
Publication Date Jun 30, 2018
Deposit Date Jul 24, 2017
Publicly Available Date Jul 14, 2018
Journal Physiotherapy
Print ISSN 0031-9406
Electronic ISSN 1873-1465
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 104
Issue 2
Pages 239-247
Keywords Peer support; Chronic low back pain; Self management; Older adults; Training programme
Public URL


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